Dame Ellen MacArthur to advise Nicola Sturgeon on climate crisis

Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur is to advise the Scottish Government on the climate crisis as part of a new environmental council.

The record-breaking sailor will join a group co-chaired by former UK chief scientific adviser Sir Ian Boyd and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. The council will meet over the coming weeks to discuss environmental issues before presenting a report at the COP26 climate event in November.

Sir Ian served as the UK’s chief scientific adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from September 2012 to August 2019. He is currently professor in biology at the University of St Andrews.

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Filmmaker and presenter Gordon Buchanan MBE will also be on the group. In 2005, Dame Ellen smashed the record for the fastest single-handed circumnavigation of the world.

Dame Ellen leads her eponymous charitable foundation that advocates for a circular economy. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

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She now heads a charity that advocates for a circular economy. Other members of the council include academics and scientists.

Ms Sturgeon said the climate crisis is “code red for humanity” and that COP26 is a “unique opportunity to show leadership on the international stage”.

She added: “That’s why we committed to appoint, within the first 100 days of this government, environmental experts from around the world, to advise on international best practice to help us tackle this unprecedented challenge.

“The group will balance experience, a strong international perspective, the youth voice, and topical awareness, at the highest, global level.

“As well as acting as a sounding board for our near term policies, the group will advise us on the long-term policy trajectory for Scotland – taking into account the opportunities that becoming a net-zero society presents: growing our economy, improving our health and wellbeing and protecting Scotland’s iconic natural environment.”

WWF Scotland welcomed the new council. Lang Banks, director of the organisation, said: “As a nation, Scotland is well-positioned to be able to play a leading role in tackling the twin climate and nature emergencies.

“In most cases we already know what needs to be done to halt climate change and restore nature. However, what we need to see is swift and focused action, with the Scottish Government leading the way.

“We hope that this new group can help support Scottish ministers to more rapidly deliver a future where people and nature thrive.”

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