THESE are tumultuous times at the Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on emissions targets.
Professor Piers Forster is the interim chairman of the CCC replacing Lord Debden (John Selwyn Gummer) and has been for over 18 months, as the Government delays a permanent appointment.Forster describes Gummer as ‘such an inspirational leader and friend. He taught us so much about the role of evidence and how best to use it to affect change’. Piers is known for his work with the IPCC and the establishment of the United Bank of Carbon. Recently he criticised the Government’s decision to award new North Sea oil and gas licences, which speaks for itself.
Responding to Piers’s appointment the Head of Global Advocacy at Christian Aid, Jennifer Larbie, said: ‘It’s great to see a climate scientist with as much stature as Piers Forster appointed. With droughts, storms and other extreme weather getting worse around the world,’ she disinformed, ‘people who have done the least to cause climate breakdown need nations with high historic emissions like the UK, to accelerate the energy transition.’
Alas Professor Forster will soon be replaced by a permanent chairman or chairwoman. It’s a demanding three-days-a-month role with a modest stipend of £1,000 a day but there has been much interest with 60 candidates applying. According to the Guardian a front runner is Lord Willetts of the Resolution Foundation, which calculates the ‘real living wage’ to be £9.90 a hour outside London. The foundation is also proud of having run in 2023 Work Tech Ventures: Valla, Mobilise, Slinger, Organise, Equal Care Co-op, Early Bird and TaskHer. Me neither.
The Chief Executive Officer, Chris Stark, is also leaving the organisation, on April 26. A former Director of Energy and Climate Change in the Scottish executive, he is moving smoothly to become Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust. Piers lauds Chris, saying: ‘The Committee is incredibly grateful to Chris for his contribution over the last six years. His supportive leadership for the secretariat has helped us develop a world-class analytical team and deepened our analysis of the UK response to climate change.’ The Energy Security Secretary (sic) Claire Coutinho thanked Chris, saying that under his leadership, ‘he has seen many advances – including becoming the first major economy to put our net zero commitments into law’. Peter Chalkley, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: ‘Under Chris’s leadership and that of his predecessors, the CCC has become internationally recognised and respected, and an example of British leadership on climate change.’
Chris hit the headlines last year when he revealed that – although he was instrumental in getting the Conservative (sic) government to ban gas and oil boilers in new homes and make them illegal in all homes later – he has a gas boiler in his Glasgow flat. ‘I have a gas boiler. I wish I didn’t, but I live in a flat and heat pumps are a very difficult thing to put in there,’ he said.
The latest figures I could find for Chris’s remuneration dates from 2018 when it was £320,000, and the budget for the whole organisation was £4.7million. Undoubtedly it will have increased since then.
Of course the Climate Change Committee organisation is only one of hundreds pushing the net zero agenda which now has all the hallmarks of a quasi religion, where the production of carbon is regarded as a sin. The mainstream media seldom gives space to alternative, heretical views but Allison Pearson in the Telegraph spoke for millions who question this agenda, saying: ‘The Government should repeal the net zero legislation and switch its focus to achievable adaptations over a longer timeframe instead of coercing and bullying the British people into altering their lifestyles in order to hit a meaningless, unattainable target.’