Five students from the University of Edinburgh Business School had the unique opportunity to attend the IETA European Climate Summit, representing both the MSc Climate Change, Finance and Investment (CCFI) and B-CCaS. They have provided their thoughts on the event, highlighting their personal experiences, the knowledge they gained, and the connections they made. These reflections offer a glimpse into the valuable impact such forums can have on emerging professionals in the field of climate finance. Read on to discover how this event has influenced and inspired our students in their academic and professional journeys.
Cityscape of Florence including Florence Cathedral

Paula Tacke

Headshot of Paula Tacke

Recently I had the incredible opportunity to attend IETA's European Climate Summit in Florence, an event that stands at the confluence of the public and private sector to discuss the nuances of carbon pricing and trading. The summit brought together hundreds of delegates eager to share insights across three days filled with discussions covering topics from the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to the intricacies of aviation and maritime emissions, and not least, the voluntary carbon markets.

As an MSc student in Climate Change Finance and Investment, I found the summit extremely valuable. My master thesis focuses on the repercussions of the CBAM, and the summit's panel discussions not only offered deep insights into this regulation but also vividly brought to life the concepts we have studied in class. This practical exposure was a testament to how well my course has prepared me to engage with real-world issues. It was an excellent platform to engage with experts and companies impacted by the CBAM, allowing me to gather diverse perspectives on the policy's reception across different sectors.

The dynamic sessions, including discussions on Claims for Credits and the evolving EU policy framework, emphasised the critical role of markets in achieving climate targets. They paved the way for substantial debates on the future of carbon markets. As the European carbon market enters a new phase in 2031, and with markets rapidly developing globally, the ECS 2024 was great for exploring strategies to achieve net zero emissions.

The summit also provided a platform to connect with industry professionals, allowing me to engage with numerous companies aligned with my academic and career goals. I gained insights into market entry strategies and discussed potential employment opportunities. These conversations were extremely helpful, broadening my understanding of the sector and helping forge connections that could shape my professional journey.

The event highlighted the importance of environmental integrity and robust quality assurance in carbon markets. The experience has definitely deepened my understanding and equipped me to contribute effectively to climate finance and carbon market innovations. I am eager for future conversations and collaborations as we work towards a sustainable future.

Thank you to Luca Taschini and the University of Edinburgh for making this possible, and to the IETA team for providing us with this incredible opportunity.

Grace Williams

Headshot of Grace Williams

Volunteering at the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) European Summit was a rare opportunity to see the issues we’ve been studying this past year presented and debated by the market actors facing them today. Meeting representatives from some of the most influential names in carbon trading gave me and the other students an exciting look at both the field we hope to enter and the immense variety of roles through which we may hope to participate.

As volunteers, we were able to design a schedule that gave us time to attend panels or discussions we found most interesting. I’m writing my dissertation on the mitigation potential of negative emissions technology, so I used this allowance to listen to a closed-door meeting of CCS+ Initiative members, a space that students seldom have the chance to occupy. All of this was made possible with the help of the incredible IETA staff, who worked to ensure that we were given every opportunity and guided us throughout the summit.

This conference reminded me the value of in-person connection and made me excited to one day collaborate with the passionate, innovative people I met.

Edward Smith

Headshot of Edward Smith

My attendance at the European Climate Summit, held in Firenze, Italy, marked a pivotal moment in my academic and professional journey. Organised by the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), this event offered an inspiring and fulfilling conclusion to the MSc CCFI program. The summit gathered a diverse group of global leaders from various sectors, all united in their commitment to advance carbon markets, catalyse the energy transition, and drive forward climate action.

Witnessing this convergence of minds and efforts was not only inspiring, but also showed first-hand the practical application of the extensive knowledge I had acquired throughout the academic year in Edinburgh. My particular interest in the voluntary carbon market was met with a series of enlightening panels and discussions led by industry frontrunners. These sessions provided invaluable insights into the complexities and future outlook of voluntary carbon market trading, igniting my passion even greater for this field.

Networking was a significant aspect of my experience at the summit. I engaged with a wide variety of industry leaders—from CEOs of innovative carbon trading exchanges to executives of major energy corporations and founders of cutting-edge climate tech start-ups. These interactions not only broadened my professional network, but also improved my interpersonal relationship skills and deepened my understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the carbon market. Moreover, attending various roundtable discussions exposed me to the multifaceted challenges that countries and industries continue to face regarding carbon markets and the energy transition. These conversations highlighted the real-world implications of theoretical knowledge, connecting classroom learning to industry practices, and enhancing my understanding of my field of study.

This opportunity, made possible by the University of Edinburgh, was undoubtedly one of the most enriching experiences of my university career. I am profoundly grateful for the chance to see the principles of environmental economics and climate finance in action, providing me with a solid foundation as I move into my full-time career.

Mahler Meyerrose

Headshot of Mahler Meyerrose

The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) conference in Florence last month provided a crucial platform for stakeholders to engage in discussions shaping the future of carbon markets, particularly within the voluntary carbon market (VCM). One significant dialogue revolved around REDD+ and the integrity of legacy credits. The conversation emphasized the nuanced approach required for accessing legacy credits, highlighting the importance of ensuring that these credits maintain their value and integrity within the VCM framework. This discussion underscored the necessity for clear standards and robust verification processes to uphold the credibility of emissions reductions achieved through REDD+ initiatives.

In another key session led by Verra, the importance of internal carbon pricing emerged as a priority for organizations aiming to decarbonize effectively. However, the discussion also emphasized that individual actions alone are insufficient to drive meaningful change. There is a pressing need for rebuilding trust in the market to ensure the integrity of the supply chain. This entails establishing mechanisms that not only incentivize internal carbon pricing but also foster transparency and accountability across all stakeholders. By prioritizing integrity and trust, the carbon market can serve as a reliable tool in the broader efforts to combat climate change.

The conference also provided a valuable opportunity for participants to network and connect with individuals from various sectors of the carbon market. Engaging with experts, policymakers, industry leaders, and environmental advocates offered insights into diverse perspectives and approaches toward addressing climate challenges. These interactions fostered collaboration and knowledge-sharing, highlighting the collective effort required to drive impactful change. The exchange of ideas and experiences not only enriched the discussions but also reinforced the sense of community and shared purpose within the carbon market sector. Such networking opportunities underscored the importance of building strong partnerships and alliances to accelerate progress towards a sustainable and low-carbon future.