Carbon management conference showcases work of students

Published: 23 September 2011

Student-led carbon management conference has showcased the work of students enrolled on Glasgow's MSc in Applied Carbon Management

Over the past year students enrolled on the MSc Applied Carbon Management degree, School of Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS) have worked hard to understand and find solutions to the many issues presented by climate change. The year culminates in a student-led conference showcasing the work of the students conducted over the summer months through either dissertation research or work placements. The subject of each student’s work is negotiated with the workplace provider which this year included The Scottish Government, the Forestry Commission, Nestlé, and the University of Glasgow to name just a few.

This year’s conference on September 14th proved to be an inspirational event with 21 students from all corners of the globe presenting work on a diverse range of topics related to climate change and carbon management. The conference was opened by Professor David Clark, Director of SIS, who congratulated the students on their achievements and highlighted both the local and global significance of carbon management. Guests, who included work placement providers, University staff, supervisors, NGOs, general public and the in-coming cohort of MSc students, were treated to a variety of topics and some interesting delivery styles as well. Much to the amusement of the room, one student impressed with a song and some role-play. Who would have guessed that a presentation on ‘reasons for opting in and out of green accreditation schemes’ could be such fun!Carbon mangement conference 

Presentations under the theme of terrestrial carbon included the role of deadwood in carbon storage, an assessment of carbon stored in deadwood, the viability and benefits of the proposed Horticulture Peat Levy policy, and the potential carbon saving of kilns to use pre-dried wood. Studies such as these are important in understanding and managing carbon more sustainably.

The parallel session concentrated on issues relating to the crucial issue of energy. Presentations addressed topics such as validation of the Vortex wind model, a carbon audit of a tidal energy device and potential material substitution, improving energy efficiency in the food manufacturing sector, assessment of best available technologies (BATs) for low carbon refurbishment of the Energy Technology Centre (ETC), and the evolution of offshore wind development in the UK.

Carbon management is very much about contributing to environmental, social and economic sustainability and this was also one of the main conference themes. Delegates enjoyed presentations covering the carbon footprint and energy assessment of households in the transition town of Helensburgh, ecotourism and sustainable accommodation, a review of waste management alternatives in seven factories in Nestlé (UK), reasons for opting in and out of the Green Tourism Business Scheme in Scotland, alternative slurry use at Crichton Farm, building resilience: a new role for urban planning, and a greenhouse gas inventory of our very own University of Glasgow.

It goes without saying that any conference addressing issues of carbon management and climate change should involve a policy theme and the students did not disappoint. Presentations were made on topics such as a comparative analysis of environmental disclosure by Indian companies, energy efficiency policies: an analysis of the practicalities of implementing Smart meter and domestic energy efficiencies, an analysis of the Scottish Government's Environmental Performance Strategy, interconnected infrastructure systems: a joined-up approach to building climate change resilience, and  Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and carbon management: deal or no deal?

Following the student presentations and discussion the invited guest speaker took to the floor. Pam Taylor is Project Manager for the Solway Firth Partnership, a local voluntary coastal management partnership promoting the sustainable development of Solway coastal zone both sides of the national border. Guests heard about the Partnership’s work and the challenges of working with legislation covering two countries. The presentation concentrated on the Solway Firth in the 21st Century and the relevance of carbon and environmental management in sustaining this asset and resources. Whilst being one of the UK’s most highly environmentally protected regions, it is currently a focus for the location of off-shore wind farms and other renewable energy projects, as well as having a rich tradition of industries such as haaf netting and oyster fisheries which are under threat from various angles including climate change. Pam provided an inspiring and fitting end to what must be considered one of the best Applied Carbon Management conferences to date. The excellent organisation of the event was down to continuing MSc students on the programme. Like others involved in the course, I look forward immensely to next year’s conference (no pressure students!).

To find out more about the conference please contact Dr Bethan Wood,, (01387) 702096. For more information about the MSc Applied Carbon Management please visit our website: or contact: Dr Steven Gillespie,, (01387) 702344. The MSc Applied Carbon Management degree is offered by the University of Glasgow in partnership with the Crichton Carbon Centre.


Dr Steven Gillespie

First published: 23 September 2011

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