CCC chief executive Chris Stark to step down

Climate Change Committee (CCC) chief executive Chris Stark has announced he will be stepping down from his role in April, following six years of advising the Government over its climate commitments.

CCC chief executive Chris Stark to step down

Image: CCC

Stark, who stepped into the CCC position in April 2018, has worked tirelessly to advocate and advise on ambitious green policies that have seen the UK Government introduce a net-zero target for 2050.

Stark will leave the position in April and has joined the Carbon Trust as its chief executive.

“It’s been a privilege to lead the CCC team over such an important period. I’m so proud of the analysis and advice we have produced in the last six years,” Stark said.

“The dedication and professionalism of the CCC team, coupled with the vast knowledge of our Committee members are central to the organisation’s success. The CCC is in great shape for its next phase of work. I’ll continue to be one of its loudest supporters.”

A permanent replacement has not yet been lined up, with recruitment underway. The CCC’s chief economist James Richardson, will serve as interim chief executive until a permanent replacement is recruited.

Stark warnings

Under Stark’s leadership, the CCC has advised Government and Parliament on some seismic green policy introductions.

The CCC recommended that the UK set a net-zero target for 2050, which was formally adopted and introduced into law under then-Prime Minister Theresa May. The UK was the first major economy with such a target.

Since then the UK’s climate watchdog has provided annual updates on progress toward the 2050 target. An annual update from the CCC in 2023 found that Ministers risk using transparency “as a substitute for real delivery”. The Committee is less confident that the UK will meet its emissions targets than it was this time last year.

The CCC has pointed to some “glimmers” of good practice for net-zero policymaking. These include the UK Government’s ban on coal-fired electricity from autumn 2024 and its clear signals on scaling the electric car market.

Additionally, the CCC has published a report examining the UK’s approach to climate adaptation. The report, published in March last year, warned that there is a “striking lack of climate preparation” from current green policies, claiming that the Government has neglected to include adaptation across all areas of the economy, which risks undermining the net-zero targets and places millions of people at risk.

Stark was previously the Director of Energy and Climate Change in the Scottish Government and held roles in HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills before it was disbanded.

Energy Security Secretary, Claire Coutinho, said:  “I want to thank Chris Stark for his work at the Climate Change Committee and I wish him all the best for the future. During his leadership, he has seen many advances – including becoming the first major economy to put our net zero commitments into law, with the UK becoming the first country in the G20 to halve its carbon emissions.”

Chair of the Carbon Trust’s Board, Julia King Baroness Brown of Cambridge, welcomed Stark’s appointment.

“Chris Stark has been a leader in the climate action space, both within the UK and globally. His approach has always been underpinned by a combination of pragmatism, integrity and openness,” Baroness Brown said.

“This is fully aligned with both the mission and values of the Carbon Trust, making Chris the right person to lead the organisation into its next stage of development. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Tom for his exceptional contribution to climate action over the last two decades at the helm of the Carbon Trust. He has led the organisation from its establishment, to becoming the highly impactful and respected organisation it is today.”

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