Meet TNEI’s COP26 Champion – Gruffudd Edwards

5 Nov 2021

Senior Data Scientist, Gruffudd Edwards is playing a very special part in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021, as he hosts 6 international delegates in his Glasgow home!  

We asked Gruffudd a few questions on his role at TNEI in helping the UK achieve Net Zero and get his thoughts on the event.  

Where is your favourite place in Glasgow? 

Probably one of its fine cheesemongers. Although the huge parks are pretty good too! 

What is your favourite Glaswegian saying?  

So many to choose from! But I think the word ‘Gallus’ to describe an act or person that’s bold or daring – perhaps in a slightly cheeky way. Lets hope there are plenty of Gallus on display at COP26. 

What do you love about Glasgow?  

Its charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in fighting climate change? 

That’s such an important and difficult question! I think it might be related to the phrase ‘Empty vessels make the most noise’. 

Who is your eco hero? 

At the risk of sounding cheesy – the unknown people speaking truth to power in parts of the world where that’s a very dangerous thing to do. 

What steps have you taken personally to fight climate change?   

Probably choosing to live in a very energy efficient new build house at the expense of a much better-looking traditional Glasgow tenement. 

Why is COP26 so important?   

I’m not sure that the ‘absolute last chance’ narrative, coupled with a ‘world saved’ versus ‘total apocalypse’ pair of outcomes is particularly constructive, so I don’t want to exaggerate its importance. Having said that, the stakes are extremely high and COP26 seems to have acted as an energising and mobilising force, which is great. 

Why is Glasgow the ideal host city for COP26?  

The passionate but friendly people, the cutting edge academic and professional expertise that exists here in abundance, but also the very real poverty, which should help keep people’s feet on the ground. 

What is your role at COP26?  

I’m participating in the ‘Human Hotel’ initiative, where I host people for free for a few weeks, who would otherwise be priced out of attending. Apparently, the going rate for a flat on AirB&B in Glasgow at the moment is around £12,000 per night! I’ve taken a rather ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ approach and am hosting 6 delegates, most for 3 weeks. 

How has the experience been? 

My guests are quite inspirational, particularly how hard they’re working. I was excited to hear that they’ve been working with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and that Alok Sharma, on a video call with them, complemented my wallpaper (check it out in the accompanying photo of this article)! 

What is TNEI actively doing to help achieve Net-Zero?  

I think that’s built in to the core of what we do, and arguably that’s particularly true of the Networks and Innovation team, of which I’m a part. The company’s own carbon footprint is scrutinised in great detail. The sportier types in the company seem to run an Iron Man race before breakfast each day, with a recent focus of converting their efforts into saving areas of woodland. 

Are you playing a part in COP26? Share your stories with us, we would love to hear from you! Check out our Race to COP26 challenge round up video