What is the role of small countries and regions in taking climate action? As international climate experts gathered in Edinburgh at the start of April, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and ClimateXChange held a panel discussion with some of those at the forefront of efforts to tackle climate change at a city, region and country level from across the world.

To share lessons at the sub-national level an auditorium with standing room only heard from a panel with representatives from California (USA), Kampala (Uganda), Gujarat (India), Westphalia (Germany) and Scotland:

  • Leon Clarke, Leader, Integrated Human Earth Systems Science program, University of Maryland/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL): Implications of city and state climate action in the US
  • Shuaib Lwasa, Associate Professor, Makerere University/World Resource Institute: Climate action underway in Kampala and drawing out links between climate adaptation and mitigation in the context of a rapidly growing city.
  • Catriona Patterson, Chair of Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group: Talking about how the 2050 Climate Group equip young people with the skills, knowledge and opportunities to take action on climate change
  • Minal Pathak, Senior Scientist, IPCC WG III Technical Support Unit, Ahmedabad University: Ground-breaking work on climate action in Gujurat
  • Manfred Fischedick, Vice President, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy: Climate action in North-Rhine Westphalia including work underway to transition from coal
  • Katherine White, Head of International, Strategy and Projects Unit Decarbonisation Division, The Scottish Government: Scotland’s approach to domestic climate change action and the value the Scottish Government places on international collaboration to share our experiences with, and learn from, others.

The event was chaired by Professor Dave Reay, Chair in Carbon Management & Education at the University of Edinburgh, and Professor Jim Skea, Co-Chair of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Listen to the recording to hear about US states taking action autonomously from the national level; how in Kampala the green agenda is a key driver for employment, infrastructure developments and urban greening; and that Gujarat and Westphalia share challenges on reducing the dependency on coal – both seeing results and achieving social development in the process.

From Scotland we heard about international cooperation’s role in enabling and inspiring small countries to reduce their emissions, and the role of young people in shaping the agenda and creating the solutions.

During the 90 minute debate panelists also covered the role of targets, the importance of bottom-up action, how to make the transition just, and how climate scientists feel about flying to participate in meetings.

Listen to the recording

Read more about the IPCC’s meeting in Edinburgh 

Read media coverage of the meeting:

Climate change: What next for saving the planet? (BBC)

World seems ambivalent about swift action on climate change – IPCC chair (Scotsman)