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University of Edinburgh @ COP25

ECCI Director Ed Craig joined a University-wide project, led by Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari, International Dean for Latin America, working directly with Edinburgh Global and the Director of the Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dalinda Perez Alvarez, on day one of the COP25 global climate talks in Madrid.

This follows from a year and a half of talks and meetings with a range of organisations in Ecuador and Edinburgh, including a visit to Edinburgh from the Ecuadorian President in July 2018 and a delegation visit to Ecuador, led by the University's VP International, Professor James Smith, in June 2019.

As political leaders and climate diplomats meet in Spain for two weeks of negotiations, Ed Craig joined the University's Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability Professor Sandy Tudhope and Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari and the Minister-President of the Galápagos Governing Council, Norman Wray, to launch the zero-carbon vision for the Galapagos Islands.

Backed by the University of Edinburgh, the Galapagos Islands 2040 Vision wants to create a secure, sustainable low carbon island economy driven by innovation and collaboration.

Aspirations include the creation of a co-designed 'innovation hub', that will help communities create a programme for sustainable use of resources and renewable energy in the Galapagos Islands. Experts from across the University are contributing to the development of this collaboration, aimed at achieving net-zero carbon in Galapagos. This is based on political leadership and community engagement, for which the University has significant expertise, as well as for the implementation of renewable energy systems.

Ed Craig, Professor Tudhope and Dr Garcia Ferrari join around 30 other University of Edinburgh staff, students and alumni - including climate experts and practitioners attending the vital climate talks, which will see 29,000 attendees over the fortnight of activities.

On Thursday Edinburgh's marine experts, including Professor Tudhope and Dr Meriwether Wilson, will launch the University’s new global Ocean Leaders programme, aimed at accelerating the learning, reach and influence of the most talented young professionals working on solutions for the oceans and society.

This meeting in Madrid signals the start of 12 months of negotiations that will culminate in Glasgow with COP26 in November next year.

Minister-President of the Galápagos Governing Council, Norman Wray, said: "The challenge is to reach the provision of clean energy for the inhabitants of Galapagos with low carbon emissions."

"The importance of community participation in public policy decisions, in consensus processes, are what will allow the islands to continue to be one of the best preserved places in the world."

Professor Sandy Tudhope said: “Universities have been key sources of scientific evidence on the nature and causes of man-made climate change, and of its wider impacts.  However, now we need to play an even more active role in helping shape the solutions, locally and globally."

"Our University of Edinburgh discussions with the Government of Ecuador about the Galapagos Islands are a good example of this wider endeavour.  At today’s event at the COP, we discussed how to develop partnerships that could help the Galapagos move towards a zero carbon status, as part of the islands’ ambitions for a societally fair and environmentally sustainable future.”

ECCI director Ed Craig said: “It’s an honour to be representing the University of Edinburgh and ECCI at the launch of of the Galapagos Islands 2040 Vision as part of COP25."

"As the leading low carbon hub for Scotland and beyond, ECCI is all about delivering groundbreaking projects and kick-starting new ideas."

"We hope our experience in (Scotland’s) island settings, conservation, community engagement and sustainability, along with a track record of bringing together public, academia and non-profit sectors will be a great asset to this project and an opportunity to drive forward our shared vision for a low carbon future.”

COP25 aims to step up ambition so that all countries increase their national commitments to cut emissions. The meeting follows on the heels of three UN reports which stressed the increased urgency of limiting dangerous climate change. According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, "the point of no return is no longer over the horizon".

COP25 was due to be held in Chile but was cancelled by the government due to weeks of civil disturbances.

Keep up with all the action from COP25

Keep up with all the action from COP25 on the department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability blog.