Dr Sam Gardner appointed to lead Edinburgh’s carbon neutral push



An expert panel from key sectors and areas of climate expertise has been appointed to progress Edinburgh’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Dr Sam Gardner

The Edinburgh Climate Commission has been co-sponsored by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) and the City of Edinburgh Council, with funding support from the Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN).

Dr Sam Gardner, who is head of climate change and sustainability at Scottish Power and former deputy director for WWF Scotland, will head up the Commission and has begun to appoint fellow commissioners from a variety of backgrounds and sectors including energy, transport, housing, tourism, civil society and public bodies.

Appointed members include:

  • Cllr Adam McVey – leader of City of Edinburgh Council and vice chair of the Commission
  • Andrew Kerr – chief executive of City of Edinburgh Council
  • Dave Reay – director of Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation at the University of Edinburgh
  • Clare Foster – partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn
  • Daisy Narayanan – director of urbanism, SUSTRANS
  • Bridie Ashrowan – chief executive, Broomhouse Space
  • Teresa Bray – chief executive, Changeworks
  • Kaisie Rayner – responsible investment manager, Scottish Widows
  • Calum Murray – director CCG Scotland
  • Diarmaid Lawlor – associate director, Scottish Futures Trust
  • Alex Hilliam – behaviour change expert consultant
  • Andrea Nicholas - chief executive, Green Tourism
  • Civil society representative
  • Young sustainability professional nominated by the 2050 Group

The full list of commissioners will be announced in advance of the Commission’s first meeting at the end of March. 

Dr Sam Gardner said: “It’s a huge privilege to be asked to chair the Edinburgh Climate Commission, to work with the expertise and experience of my fellow Commissioners and to play a part in ensuring Edinburgh accelerates its response to the climate crisis. The Commission will focus its work on helping to unlock the delivery of the measures we know we must take, not only to tackle climate change but to help build a better future for all of Edinburgh.

“The scale of the transformation Edinburgh faces is significant but the rewards are even greater; to be successful we will all have a part to play and those with the greatest responsibility must show the greatest leadership. We have entered the climate decade of delivery and this will be the touchstone the Commission will hold itself to.”

Cllr Adam McVey added: “I’m delighted to welcome Dr Gardner into his new role as chair of the independent Edinburgh Climate Commission. He brings a wealth of relevant experience and knowledge to the post and will be a real catalyst for change by leading the Commission’s work to help Edinburgh achieve our hugely ambitious net zero target.

“Working together across all sectors to reduce the city’s carbon emissions and unlock a truly sustainable future is a massive opportunity for this city. I am looking forward to playing an active role in the Commission as we push for the change needed right across the city in delivering our 2030 ambitions.”

The City Sustainability Strategy will be published by the council at the end of 2020.

With the support of ECCI and Climate KIC, nine priority missions have been identified so far: 

  • New-build housing becoming zero carbon;
  • Transforming future city energy generation;
  • Transforming city waste recycling;
  • Retrofit of heritage, commercial and public buildings;
  • Retrofit of domestic housing;
  • Decarbonisation of city transport;
  • Readying Edinburgh for climate impact;
  • Citizen behaviour change and civil society innovation and activism; and
  • Ensuring a just transition to a low-carbon Edinburgh


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