Lessons from Edinburgh point to the future for Climate Commissions

10th May 2024 - 15:06

What does the future look like for place-based climate governance?

A new report by Sarah Bryant, a researcher at the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, has identified the value added by place-based climate governance, and options for improving it, by studying lessons learned from the Edinburgh Climate Commission.

Climate Commissions

The Edinburgh Climate Commission is one of three core Commissions established under the ESRC-funded Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN).

Climate Commissions are independent partnerships comprised of individuals from the public, private and civic sectors who collaborate to steer and mobilise action on climate change in a specific place. These partnerships attempt to address gaps in governance and drive climate action in the area.

The Edinburgh Commission was set up in 2020, around the same time as the Belfast Commission. (Leeds was the foreunner, begun in 2017). Since the Commissions' inception, the governance gaps have widened, making it more challenging for voluntary Commissions to continue. 

Solutions for sustaining action

According to an independent report conducted by CAG (2023), the Edinburgh Climate Commission demonstrated its value through policy innovation, convening, knowledge brokering, independent, evidence-based advice, awareness raising, engagement, facilitation and challenge. This was particularly evident as it facilitated and informed Net Zero policy and practice of private sector organisations through the Climate Compact.

Based on the experiences from the Edinburgh Climate Commission, a framework was developed that explores three typologies for improved place-based climate governance: community focussed; crtitical friend, and task and finish group. 

'Task and finish group' is the recommended typology for the Edinburgh Commission, and the report offers practical applications for this.

It also includes a checklist of 17 key considerations for designing, setting up, running, evaluating and decommissioning a climate governance model, regardless of the place.

Read the full report

Image: Madeline Kohler, Unsplash