Edinburgh has announced a multi-million-pound, long-term commitment to capture and store its unavoidable carbon emissions, and benefit nature, through restoring peatlands and expanding forests in Scotland.

Over an initial period of 50 years, by investing in tree planting and restoring peatlands in partnership with others, the University expects to remove almost 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This will also yield significant benefits to the institution’s core purposes of research, learning and teaching, as well as enhancing biodiversity for the sites.

This world-leading climate action is an essential component of the University’s plans to be Carbon-Zero by 2040 and is part of a package of recent measures such as removing investments in fossil fuels, a presumption against UK flights and investing in its own solar farm. It also comes ahead of the COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow later this month.

The University’s internal research has indicated this approach to sequestering and storing carbon offers the best long-term value, as well as the most secure approach to meeting its own carbon commitments, when compared to other market-based carbon offset solutions. The University is already planning for zero emissions from heat and power by 2040.

The announcement begins a process that will allow the University to develop specific proposals and plans with partner organisations, with an aim of sequestering unavoidable carbon emissions in this way by 2024.

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