The climate crisis represents the single greatest threat to all humankind, and it is something that we must face together.

Whilst recent events such as the death of Her Majesty The Queen, the ongoing cost of living crisis, and events in Ukraine have dominated our thoughts and indeed the news cycle, we must now turn our efforts back to arguably the most pressing issue of our time. 

As Scotland’s Climate Week begins today, I would like to reiterate our commitment to becoming a net-zero city by 2030 and spearheading the climate fightback here in Scotland’s Capital. This is a cornerstone of the Council’s long-term goals, and I am determined that we will play our role in the wider climate effort.  

As Council Leader I will be attending the UK100’s Climate Leadership Academy this autumn. This programme for leaders across the UK will provide knowledge on decarbonisation, financial transition, energy, and nature/adaption. I relish the opportunity to speak to other local government leaders from across the country and the political spectrum. The climate crisis is a collective problem and as such requires a collective and cooperative solution.

To achieve net-zero, everyone must play their part in driving climate action. A reduction in emissions needs to take place across all areas of society and business sectors. Overwhelmingly, the scientific evidence clearly shows that to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, the increasing global temperature must be limited to 1.5°C.

Here in Edinburgh, we are already on our way to becoming a greener city.

This summer we launched a citywide network of electric vehicle chargers located on streets and at park and ride sites, which will help people to choose cleaner, low emission electric cars.

In June the city was awarded silver status by the Sustainable Food Places Network, recognising the Capital’s pioneering work to promote healthy and sustainable food. The City of Edinburgh Council was also ranked third in the UK by Climate Emergency UK in their scorecard of local authority’s climate action plans.

Edinburgh’s ten-year City Mobility Plan aims to transform the way we move around the city, reducing emissions and air pollution, positively impacting public health, and tackling congestion amongst other benefits. Actions include projects like City Centre TransformationTrams to NewhavenGeorge Street and First New Town20-Minute Neighbourhoods and the extension of 20mph speed limits, as well as behaviour change initiatives and seamless public transport ticketing.

At the start of #ScotClimateWeek I would like to call upon our fantastic residents, businesses, and partner organisations to renew their climate commitments. Our dedicated climate webpage  is filled with information on Edinburgh’s 2030 climate strategy, tracking our progress and climate action in the city. I would encourage everyone to educate themselves on the climate crisis and find out how small, individual changes can make a lasting impact.

Encouraging people to consider alternatives to travel by car like walking, wheeling, cycling and travel by public transport is essential to our net zero goals and we’ve set a target of reducing the kms travelled by car in Edinburgh by 30% by 2030. Last week we marked Car Free Day and this Sunday (2 October) we’ll be holding a fun event on Waverley Bridge to celebrate the occasion. The area will be transformed into an inclusive community hub of information, inspiration and activity encouraging people to consider more sustainable forms of transport.

There is also an Edinburgh Net-Zero events page and Climate Fringe Festival Calendar find out what’s going on in Edinburgh for Scotland’s Climate Week. 

We remain in the midst of a challenging fight against climate change, and the significant impacts that are already being felt across the globe. However, I remain confident that our capital city and its people will persevere and play their part in this shared effort to make our planet a safer, sustainable, and more prosperous place to live.