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A Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Edinburgh

This final edition of the the ECCI-supported Net Zero Carbon Roadmap for Edinburgh has been produced by the Place-based Climate Action Network.

The Roadmap details baseline emissions profile for the City of Edinburgh with recommended actions for reducing emissions, and their efficacy.

In the new year ECCI team members will share the Roadmap with public sector and infrastructure providers and senior business leaders in the city – from finance, distilleries, chamber of commerce, FSB, tourism, festivals etc - to lead into the development of Edinburgh's new city sustainability strategy.

Climate emergency

In 2019, the City of Edinburgh Council declared a climate emergency, in recognition of the damage man-made climate change is causing to our environment.

Elected members subsequently voted to establish a Net Zero by 2030 target for the city, an ambitious goal that will necessitate change across every area of council business, as well as every sector in Edinburgh.

The first iteration of this Carbon Roadmap was published in October 2019, before it was presented to members of the Policy and Sustainability Committee.

The report indicated the scale of the challenge to reach the Net Zero target in Edinburgh, while highlighting that local authorities alone cannot deliver Net Zero ambitions – only 12% of Edinburgh’s emissions footprint is under the control of the Council.

It also emphasised that to achieve effective climate action, cities and local authorities must leverage partnerships across the public, private and third sector while engaging and empowering citizens on the issue of climate change.

Edinburgh Climate Commission

The report provided the evidence base for elected members in the City of Edinburgh Council's Policy and Sustainability Committee to agree to establish an independent Climate Commission. The Climate Commission would bring together stakeholders from across the private, public and third sector and act as a ‘critical friend’ to the Council and city in its journey to Net Zero.

As the Council and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (the Commission’s co-sponsors) worked towards the set-up of Climate Commission, the selection of members was guided by the Carbon Roadmap.


The Roadmap identified key sectors and challenge areas that Edinburgh would have to address in order to become a Net Zero City. These are transport, construction, the decarbonisation of heat and retrofit and energy efficiency measures in public and private buildings. Citizens would also need to make behavioural changes, and the transition to a low carbon economy and society would need to ensure that no one was left behind. Commissioners were selected based on these challenge areas, to provide knowledge and expertise from their sector.

ECCI Director and Edinburgh Climate Commission member Professor Dave Reay said:

"Setting a net zero target is the easy part; planning how to reach it and delivering on that plan is the tough bit.

"In this net zero roadmap the scale of the challenge for Edinburgh is made clear, but so too are the myriad actions that are possible. Many bring falling emissions alongside safer streets, new jobs and warmer homes.

"They speak to the diversity of our city and the keystone to success that is collaboration across and within our communities.

"After a bleak year of being forced apart by Covid we now have a crucial opportunity to come together on climate."

Join the conversation

If you would like to share thoughts or feedback on the Carbon Roadmap, please email ECCI and Edinburgh Climate Commission Project Officer Rosanna Harvey-Crawford. You can also join the conversation on climate change in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Talks Climate.

Edinburgh Climate Commission and PCAN

Find out more about the work of the Commission and links to the Place-based Climate Action Network.