In this episode, Dave Reay, Professor of Carbon Management and Education in the School of Geosciences and Director of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, discusses his hopes for COP26 and the university’s involvement in an interview with Joséphine Foucher, Teaching Matters Co-Editor and Student Engagement Officer. This episode accompanies our November and December Hot Topic theme: COP26 and embedding the climate emergency in our teaching.
Dave and Joséphine’s interview begins with Dave outlining some of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute’s (ECCI) work at University, including creating a joint Master’s programme and open access courses about climate change. He also details the ECCI’s work with practitioners, like the Edinburgh City Council and the Nat West Group, and the ECCI’s role as a facilitator between ‘amazing’ student research and getting these students opportunities working with businesses or government.
Dave then expands into all things COP26, discussing both student and alum involvement in the conference. He talks about a ‘green career pathways’ event that will showcase alums from the University of Edinburgh discussing the pathways they’ve taken, what they’ve studied, what they’ve found and barriers to careers that lead the way on climate action. Another exciting event is the ‘Climate Change Debate’, where current students will have the opportunity to debate overarching questions about climate change on a global stage.
I’m really optimistic that that message is getting through. We’re seeing governments, in terms of their approach at COP, not just being about targets and saying, “Oh, we’ll do this. We’re not sure how we’re going to do it.” Actually, it’s a conversation with us as communities, us as businesses, us as institutions to say: how do we actually do this? How do we do it in the city of Edinburgh, for instance? And how is that different from doing it in New York or in Karachi? It’s about sharing good practice.
Dave then rounds out the interview with his three main hopes for COP26 and the future of climate change in the curriculum. He covers fascinating questions, like, how can climate change become embedded in our curriculum? What outcomes are we looking for in the conference? And climate change historically has been viewed as being all about big business or the individual, but what might a different perspective look like?
We hope you enjoy this special one-off episode about COP26, an essential listen for anyone at the university who is curious about climate change/action. A huge thank you to Dave Reay for making time to discuss this with us!
Dave joined as ECCI’s Executive Director in January 2020. He is also Professor of Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh and Director of Policy at ClimateXChange, acting as the key contact for Scottish Government. Dave has worked at the University of Edinburgh for almost 20 years, working closely with ECCI from its inception in 2011. Dave has authored over 100 articles on climate change, including 5 books. He is also an advisor for the Scottish Government on rural policy and climate change. His latest project involves managing his farm on the West Coast of Scotland to sequester a lifetime’s carbon emissions.
Joséphine is doing a PhD in Sociology at The University of Edinburgh. Her research looks at the intersection between art and politics in contemporary Cuba. She supports Jenny Scoles as the Teaching Matters Co-Editor and Student Engagement Officer through the PhD Intern scheme at the Institute for Academic Development.
Eric is a Mathematics and Statistics student at The University of Edinburgh, and a podcasting intern for Teaching Matters. Eric is passionate about university student mental health, interviewing researchers for the Student Mental Health Research Network at King’s College London, leading the University of Edinburgh’s WellComm Kings Peer Support Scheme, and conducting research on stigma for People With Mental Illnesses (PWMI). In his free time, he enjoys watching and playing sports, over-analysing hip-hop songs, podcasts, and any sort of wholesome shenanigans.