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Royal visit recognises pioneering climate change initiatives

Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal have visited the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute.

Previously known as the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, ECCI has been renamed as the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute in recognition of its renewed vision to help secure a resilient, just and climate neutral future for all.

The visit was an opportunity to showcase ECCI’s work in the last 10 years as an inclusive hub for climate researchers, policy makers, businesses, students and educators, and the wider University’s contribution in the fight against climate change.

Staff and students shared with The Queen and The Princess Royal how the University is informing policy on a green recovery from Covid-19, how Edinburgh experts are coordinating lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and how they are working with the UK and other governments, and a host of public and private sector partner organisations, to develop plans for COP26.

As part of the tour The Queen met representatives from the Children’s Parliament who explained their recent contribution to Scotland’s Climate Assembly, which ECCI supported.

The children presented The Queen with trees that will be planted as part of 10 hectares of new native woodland, dedicated by ECCI’s Executive Director, Professor Dave Reay, for The Queen’s Green Canopy – a UK-wide initiative to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

The visit concluded with The Queen unveiling a plaque at ECCI to mark ‘the University’s renewed commitment to lead climate action both locally and globally’.

Edinburgh Earth Initiative (EEI)

The tour coincided with the announcement of the Edinburgh Earth Initiative (EEI), a project that will boost global leadership on the adaption to and mitigation of climate change.

The Queen and The Princess Royal – who is also the University’s Chancellor – joined students and staff as ECCI and the University showcased its renewed commitment to lead on climate action, both locally and globally.

The Queen and The Princess Royal heard about the University’s expertise in a range of climate-focussed areas, such as green business and investment, planetary health, oceans, sustainable food systems and earth observation.

EEI will be a focal point for the University’s world-leading teaching and research on climate, and will have an emphasis on supporting global partnerships to deliver climate solutions.nIt will also offer scholarship opportunities for students from communities most at risk from climate change, to better investigate ways to combat its effects.

The initiative will focus on four key climate change challenges that draw on the University’s expertise: the future of energy; sustainable lands and seas; health in a warmer world; and socially just transitions.

The formation of EEI builds upon the University’s long-established strength in climate change research, innovation, and education, typified by the work of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI).

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to welcome The Queen and The Princess Royal, the University’s Chancellor, to hear about the University’s long and proud record of research and teaching on the nature and impacts of climate change. We have a clear commitment to help make the world a better place through contributing to delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With COP26 a few months away, the fantastic work of ECCI and the new Edinburgh Earth Initiative are galvanising forces in applying our expertise to do our part in the fight against climate change.”

Dr Kate Crowley, Co-Director of ECCI, said: "We welcome this honour as it recognises the substantial and ongoing commitment of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute to provide evidence, teaching, tools and networks to reduce the impacts of climate change and deliver solutions for a better future for all.

"This prestigious visit marks a moment in time for us all, a moment for us to reflect on the tremendous research, policy support and teaching that those who work at the ECCI have driven forward in the last 10 years. We look to the future with hope and renewed motivation to work towards a climate neutral and resilient Scotland and wider world. Dr Kate Crowley, Co-Director of ECCI

"We launch our new Vision Statement at this crucial time and ask those in power to take urgent and appropriate action to address the climate emergency".

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