Scots can change the world says Harvard Professor

11 January 2013

Scottish economists, engineers, entrepreneurs & innovators can be the world changing force in the battle against climate change, according to a professor from Harvard Business School. But they must act fast to encourage a transition to low carbon technologies and behaviours, warned distinguished professor Joseph Lassiter.

Lassiter sent out the rallying call to 600 business leaders, academics and decision makers in attendance at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s event series last week, calling on them to make use of Scotland’s greatest resource - ‘Scots’ - to overcome the challenges of climate change.

Lassiter's cooments were featured in an article in the Scotman by business correspondant Peter Ranscombe.

Lassiter said: “Scotland’s greatest asset is the Scottish people. Scottish innovators like economist Adam Smith have changed the world in the past and this latest challenge presents contemporary Scots an opportunity to do the same.

“Scotland has the engineering expertise built up over two centuries and the natural resources to lead the charge in future energy technologies. But Scots must act fast to ensure that higher energy cost technologies like renewables are a viable energy option in the face of equivalent cheap fossil fuel energy sources such as brown coal.

“Only by developing carbon markets and encouraging carbon taxes like border tax adjustments (import fees levied by carbon-taxing countries on goods manufactured in non-carbon-taxing countries) can Scotland protect manufacturing jobs in Scotland and encourage investment in these new, low carbon technologies.”

The call to action came as Lassiter delivered the first distinguished lecture to Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group, the body set up by First Minister Alex Salmond and SSE chief executive Ian Marchant. Lassiter was invited to Edinburgh to take part in the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation’s Clean Energy & Entrepreneurship event series, attracting 600 delegates from business, academia and government organisations. Professor Lassiter then took part in a  boardroom debate chaired by Dr Andy Kerr of the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation and which included Ian Marchant Chair of the 2020 Climate Group, John Swinney MSP Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, Wendy Alexander, Associate Dean, Degree Programmes and Careers Services at London Business School and Charles Hammond CEO of Forth Ports.

ECCI Skills & Education

Alongside academic partners at the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier and Heriot-Watt University, ECCI is actively nurturing Scottish talent in the fields of carbon finance, carbon management and entrepreneurship. From 2013 ECCI will host the University of Edinburgh’s Carbon Management MSc, a programme designed to create the next generation of carbon managers, auditors and expert advisors. And the University of Edinburgh also offers the world's first MSc in Carbon Finance, led by Francisco Ascui, dedicated to professionals in the carbon market and climate change investment field. ECCI will offer a unique platform for MSc students to work alongside business leaders, policy makers and carbon professionals whilst they are studying.

ECCI Skills on an international stage

As well as nurturing and developing talent in Scotland, ECCI seeks to build low carbon capacity worldwide through professional skills training, providing leadership to and engaging with key policy and decision makers in China and India in particular. In 2013 ECCI’s Andy Kerr and the University of Edinburgh’s Francisco Ascui will team up to deliver the first ECCI programme in India. The workshop aims to build shared (peer-to-peer) knowledge of the investment opportunities that exist for companies in India – and how to overcome investment challenges. It draws on the world-class expertise clean energy finance and carbon market expertise of IIT Bombay Centre for Climate Studies and the University of Edinburgh – home to the world’s first Carbon Finance Masters programme.
ECCI also continues to work with Chinese partners in industry, academia and policy, with links at both national and provincial level. In 2012 the Centre delivered several programmes to Chinese officials, hosted in the UK and China, focused on Scotland’s world-leading climate change policy framework, implementation programmes and the response from the business and investment communities.

ECCI in China

ECCI in India