BEIS asks CCC to keep Lord Deben in post as chair

The UK Government’s independent climate advisory body, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), has confirmed that its chair Lord Deben will stay in post for nine months longer than originally intended.

BEIS asks CCC to keep Lord Deben in post as chair

Pictured: Lord Deben at the edie Sustainability Leaders Awards in March 2022, where he took the 'Lifetime Achievement' award

Lord Deben was due to step down from the chair position this September after a decade of service in the role. However, he will now be remaining for an additional nine months.

The CCC has confirmed that it was asked by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to delay Deben’s departure. It said in a statement that BEIS wanted a smoother transition for the new chair, especially as the CCC is set to announce several changes in membership in the coming months.

We could well be seeing a shake-up in the Cabinet within weeks, as the process of choosing a new Conservative Party leader continues. BEIS Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is a vocal supporter of Liz Truss for the role and some news outlets have indicated that she may well choose him as her Chancellor if elected by Party members. This would mean a change in leadership at BEIS. Defra Secretary George Eustice, meanwhile, is backing Rishi Sunak and is reportedly keen to stay in his current post if Sunak wins. Greg Hands is also supporting Sunak.

The CCC was formed in 2008 as part of the Climate Change Act. Deben is its second chair, having succeeded Lord Turner in 2012. The CCC has been adapting its programme of work since the UK legislated for net-zero by 2050 in the 2019 update to the Act and Deben, personally, has dedicated much time to urging the Government for a more joined-up climate approach in the built environment and agriculture.

Lord Deben was appointed as CCC chair less than three years after being appointed to the House of Lords on a life peerage – an appointment that saw him stepping down as an MP for Suffolk Coastal after 29 years. Deben served a total of 16 years in cabinet positions relating to environmental issues, under Margaret Thatcher and John Major. A highlight in this period was his work introducing the Environment Act in 1995 and the Landfill Tax.

Aside from his policy work, Deben is chair of sustainability consultancy Sancroft and a trustee of the Blue Marine Foundation and Cool Earth.

CCC chief executive Chris Stark Tweeted last week to say he is “hoping to have news on new Committee appointments soon”. One appointment will be for the replacement of member Nick Charter, a professor in behavioural science tasked with furthering the CCC’s work on public engagement and implementing policy changes that will require people to change behaviours – like using public and active transport, changing diets or using electric heating.

Charter was first apponted to the CCC in April 2016. Commenting on his leaving, Deben said: “It has been a real pleasure to have Professor Chater’s unique insight on the Committee. In a momentous period, where climate change has risen up the public and political agendas, [His] expertise has been hugely useful as we’ve developed our advice to Government. I would like to extend my and the Committee’s sincere thanks for all that he has contributed over many years.”

Related content: Lord Deben on how sustainability leaders can balance ‘optimism and apocalypse’

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