Top climate scientist appointed to key environment role ahead of COP 26

Professor Pete Smith, Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen's Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, has been appointed to a new group of international experts who will advise the Scottish Government on environmental issues.

The First Minister’s Environmental Council will draw on global best practice to help tackle the climate emergency and ecological decline.

The group will meet regularly to discuss a range of environmental issues, such as biodiversity, marine resources, waste, and the nature-based aspects of climate change and the Just Transition and will present their proposed work areas and future plans in a report at COP26.

Professor Smith, who is also the University’s representative on the COP26 Universities Network, said: “Science is critical for evidence-based policy making and has never been more important than now. COP26 provides an important opportunity for experts and policymakers in Scotland to show global leadership in tackling the joint crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.

“I am delighted to have been appointed to the First Minister’s Environmental Council and look forward to the group playing a pivotal role in addressing these important issues that affect us all.”

Senior Vice-Principal Karl Leydecker, who leads on the sustainability theme of the University’s Aberdeen 2040 strategy, congratulated Professor Smith on his appointment to the role.

“Professor Smith is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading climate scientists, and his appointment to the First Minister’s Environmental Council reflects his international profile as a respected voice in this area.

“Aberdeen 2040 identifies Environment & Biodiversity and the Energy Transition as key interdisciplinary research challenges, and as a University we are committed to addressing the environmental and global energy challenges of our time.

“As COP26 approaches we will be using this opportunity to highlight the University’s research and expertise that is helping to inform the climate debate, both in terms of climate science and through our Centre for Energy Transition.  We will also be encouraging our students and staff to play an active role through the University’s status as an Official Observer Organisation.

“Professor Smith’s work is a great example of how our experts are making a valuable contribution to the sustainability agenda, and I congratulate him on his appointment to this important role.”