A leading climate scientist from Aberdeen University has been appointed to a new group of international experts who will advise the Scottish Government on the environment.
Pete Smith, professor of soils and global change at Aberdeen University’s institute of biological and environmental sciences, will have a place on the newly-created First Minister’s Environmental Council.
Professor Smith, described as “one of the world’s leading climate scientists” and the rest of the experts in various fields on the new council will meet regularly to discuss all manner of environmental issues.
The council will be co-chaired by Nicola Sturgeon and Professor Sir Ian Boyd, former UK Government chief scientific advisor on environment, food, and rural affairs.
Mr Smith and his new colleagues will advise the Scottish Government on issues like marine resources, waste, biodiversity, climate change, and the transition away from dependency on fossil fuels.
They will present their plans in a report at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, called COP26.
Pete ‘delighted’ with new appointment
Professor Smith, from Collieston, started his work at Aberdeen University in 2001 and says he’s “delighted” to be appointed to the council.
He 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.”
Professor Smith works in a number of areas, but his main areas of expertise include modelling greenhouse gas mitigation, bioenergy and greenhouse gas removal technology.
He also studies how different kinds of soil can be used to capture carbon and slow down climate change.
Who else will be on the new council?
The new environment council will have a total of 14 members aside from the first minister.
Other appointments include Gordon Buchanan MBE,wildlife cameraman and presenter, and Dame Julia Slingo, chief scientist of the UK Met Office from 2009-2016.
Aberdeen University’s senior vice-principal Karl Leydecker congratulated Professor Smith on his appointment.
He said: “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.”
Mr Leydecker added: “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.”