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Research activity

ECCI is a physical and virtual hub for climate change research, skills, knowledge exchange and innovation.

We collaborate with governments, business and academics to help facilitate interdisciplinary interactions across natural and social sciences, guiding research and its translation to promote a just and resilient transition to the post-carbon world.

We harness academic staff expertise from across the University of Edinburgh and beyond, influencing and shaping its development towards impact.

Our team members play key roles in initiatives like Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN), the Edinburgh Earth and Environment Doctoral Training Partnership and SAGES (the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society).

We’re also the base for and jointly manage ClimateXChange, Scotland's centre of expertise on climate change and the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN), Scotland’s largest network of public sector sustainability professionals.

Recent research activity

Journal Publications

The COVID-19 emergency has several parallels to the climate emergency. They both represent major systemic risks to human welfare and prosperity, requiring high-quality expert advice to play a key role in shaping the response. In both instances, preparation and cooperation are vital to success. This background paper provides greater detail behind the proposals in a COP26 Universities Network Briefing for UK BEIS. The authors identify ten fiscal recovery policies which promise to bring both short-term beneficial economic impact and long-term structural change through decoupling GHG emissions from economic growth. By ECCI Executive Director, Prof David Reay, Jennifer Allan, Charles Donovan, Paul Ekins, Ajay Gambhir, Cameron Hepburn, Nick Robins, Emily Shuckburgh and Dimitri Zenghelis.

Land use is a crucial sector in delivering enhanced carbon sequestration globally. At the same time food production is a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions. As pressure mounts for all nations to increase their levels of ambition under the Paris Climate Agreement, so the pressure to radically reduce emissions from the agriculture sector and enhance carbon sequestration in the land use sector also ramps up. This trend is most clearly evident in the drive for “net zero” where unavoidable emissions, such as those from food production, are balanced by more sequestration via land use change. Here Prof Reay examines some of the major risks, applicable safeguards, and potential pathways for agriculture and land use in realizing net zero. By ECCI Executive Director, Prof Dave Reay.

Commentaries

With mounting pressure on pedestrian infrastructure in cities, this blog explores some of the ways in which citizens and governments are making space for people in towns and cities and question what this means for the future of urban travel. By Alice Creasy, Network Analyst with the Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN).

A question long pondered by urban theorists - ownership of the city as a spatial, material, and conceptual entity finds increased practical resonance in the ambitions of the ESRC-funded PCAN network. By Dr Matthew Lane, post-doctoral researcher in urban climate governance at the University of Edinburgh, School of Geosciences and lead on the recently established PCAN Ethnography working group.

Research Projects

This report provides a policy background and information on carbon emissions and sequestration in the construction industry, along with recommendations for policy. By Dr. Renée Kerkvliet-Hermans, as part of a SAGES policy internship working with Landscapes as Carbon Sinks at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI), Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes (CSFL) and Climate-KIC.

In Edinburgh the Local Authority has set a target that the city will reach net zero emissions by 2030. Achieving this ambitious goal will require significant investment and collaboration with actors from across the city. With this in mind, this briefing will present some of the methods that groups in cities across the world have developed in order to reduce their carbon emissions. By Alice Creasy for ECCI, University of Edinburgh and PCAN.

An evidence synthesis from existing case studies - examines the evidence from a desk-based review of existing place-based climate governance strategies across the UK. Stimulated by the creation of three Climate Commissions in Leeds, Edinburgh and Belfas, part of a UK government- funded Place-Based Climate Action Network (PCAN). By Alice Creasy, Matthew Lane, Rosanna Harvey-Crawford for ECCI, University of Edinburgh and PCAN.

Marli de Jongh’s report for Scottish Parliament's think-tank Scottish Futures Forum helps evidence the need to change how we use land within cities. Research was conducted by University of Glasgow PhD student Marli de Jongh during a policy internship funded by SAGES.

The need to stabilize greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere is the great environmental challenge of this century. This research summarizes how soil carbon sequestration could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and how this can be applied to the agricultural industry. By Laura Quick, a PhD student in Geosciences at Edinburgh as part of ECCI’s NERC placement programme.

Postgraduate Student Dissertations, August 2020

Masters programmes

We host a range of postgraduate courses at ECCI, designed to help build a low carbon society. Our hub is home to around 200 Masters students, studying everything from carbon management to environmental sustainability.

The online Carbon Management MSc is a ground-breaking development of our award-winning campus-based programme, providing students worldwide with high-level knowledge, skills and training in the business, economics and science of carbon management.

Our graduates have been very successful in securing employment in the carbon and climate change sector around the world, securing a broad range of roles from renewable energy project developers, to NGO climate policy researchers and executives.

The MSc in Carbon Management has excellent relationships with relevant employers, as well as an alumni network covering more than 25 nations which provides graduates with unique opportunities to link up on research projects and find new positions in the field of carbon management. Hear from our MSc Carbon Management students and find out about the course from the 2015-2016 cohort.

Meet the team

Find out more about our in-house experts, and what they do at ECCI.