‘One of the best roles in public life’: Search begins for new UK Climate Change Committee chair

'One of the best roles in public life': Search begins for new UK Climate Change Committee chair

Lord Deben set to stand down at the end of his term this summer after a decade in the high-profile role

The hunt for a new chair of the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC) is now on, with Lord Deben set to step down from the role in June after 10 years of service.

Applications opened yesterday for the position – effectively the political figurehead of the CCC – which requires three days’ work per month for a five year term, with remuneration set at £1,000 a day. 

The chair of the CCC is responsible for steering and developing the overall work of the independent climate advisory body, as well as promoting its strategy and overall direction, including its regular assessments and recommendations to the government on the UK’s progress towards its legally-binding 2050 net zero emissions goal and interim carbon budgets.

The CCC as a whole currently counts six members, alongside a chair, who are backed by a secretariat of roughly 55 people. Interested candidates have until April to submit their applications for the chair position.

Addressing prospective candidates in a letter, Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary Grant Shapps said it was “an exciting time to join the CCC as the UK government and devolved governments make progress towards their stretching climate change goals”.

“If you believe you have the experience and qualities we are seeking to contribute to this important organisation, we very much look forward to hearing from you,” Shapps wrote.

The Climate Change Act 2008 specifies that the appointment of the CCC chair and its members are made jointly by the Secretary of State and relevant Ministers in the devolved administrations including the Scottish Government, Welsh Government, and Northern Ireland Executive.

Lord Deben’s second term as chair of the independent climate advisory body was originally scheduled to end in September, but was extended for an additional nine months last summer by the then Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Conservative peer and former Environment Secretary has been at the helm of the CCC throughout a historic era for UK and global climate policy, a period which included the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the introduction of net zero targets in the UK and devolved nations in 2019, and the hosting of the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in 2021.

Previously an MP from the 1970s until 2010 when he joined the House of Lords, Lord Deben served as Environment Secretary under John Major’s Prime Ministership in the 1990s, among other government roles.

Writing on Twitter, CEO of the CCC Chris Stark said: “This is a public appointment for one of the best roles in public life. It deserves the most diverse field of talent.”

At present, climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré from the University of East Anglia is the only woman on the six-member Committee.

The search for the CCC’s new chair came just a day after Nick Molho announced he would be stepping down as executive director of the Aldersgate Group of green businesses after more than eight years at the helm.

As a result, the green business advocacy group is now also seeking a new figurehead, which Molho described as “an exciting, varied and impactful role”.

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