California Lieutenant Governor signs Edinburgh Declaration to protect nature during visit to Strathclyde

Angus Robertson and Eleni Kounalakis

California has become the first US state to sign Scotland’s Edinburgh Declaration, which commits devolved bodies and administrations around the world to take transformative action to protect nature and halt biodiversity loss around the globe.

California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis signed the Declaration alongside Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Angus Robertson during a visit to the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre on Wednesday 3 November.

Local impact

During their visit the Lieutenant Governor and Cabinet Secretary met with members of the Global Environmental Monitoring and Measurement (GEMM) initiative which is piloting projects in Glasgow and the San Francisco Bay Area that are using low-cost sensors to measure CO2 and other polluting gases in real-time.

The GEMM Initiative is led by Optica and the AGU – international scientific societies partnering with policymakers worldwide on new technology and scientific developments for local impact. 

In Glasgow, the GEMM project is being led by the University of Strathclyde, and will see a dense network of 25 sensors installed across the city monitoring levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and particulate matter in real-time. The project is a collaboration between Strathclyde, Glasgow City Council, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley), Optica (formerly OSA), AGU, the Met Office and the National Physical Laboratory.

The aim is to demonstrate how real-time data from the network of sensors, coupled with ‘inverse modelling’, can help to identify sources of GHG emissions, providing city leaders and policymakers with information to help them decide on climate change policies and observe their impact almost immediately.

Regional government leaders, policymakers and scientists met at a GEMM summit – Cities are the Key to the Climate Solution – in Glasgow on Wednesday 3 November to discuss the implementation and expansion of real-time monitoring approach to CO2. Speakers included: Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work; Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council; Professor Donna Strickland, 2018 Nobel Laureate in Physics; and Professor Guy Brasseur of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

University of Strathclyde Professor Allister Ferguson, co-lead of the project, said: “Cities account for more than 70% of all GHG emissions and therefore have a key role to play in taking measures to tackle climate change. Indeed, many cities around the world are already committing to action and have set net-zero targets, including Glasgow.”