Appointments to the Committee on Climate Change | Brussels Blog

Appointments to the Committee on Climate Change

posted by on 12th Oct 2013

I had a conversation with Ed Davey at the PRASEG annual conference in July and also talked to Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change. I suggested he make an appointment to the Committee as it only had one climate scientist, Sir Brian Hoskins, who I believe to have rather conservative views that underestimate the impact of climate change.

Ed Davey seemed to be unaware he could appoint members of the CCC. I consulted the Climate Change Act 2008 to find out that he could, particularly as the legislation allows for eight committee members plus the chair. I emailed a letter to him explaining this on the 12th July 2013.

I had asked similar question to Ed Davey through Hugh Bayley suggesting that someone James Hansen (or someone similar) should be appointed to the CCC. I received a reply from Greg Barker:

Appointments to the Committee on Climate Change are public appointments and as such are subject to an open and competitive selection process as and when positions become available. Appointments are made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. As required by the Climate Change Act, recruitment to the Committee board is tailored to ensure a balance of skills and knowledge to reflect the Committee’s remit. This includes climate science and other branches of environmental science.

It is open to Dr Hansen to submit an application as and when a vacancy becomes available, to be considered on merit alongside other candidates.

My belief is that

  1. The Climate Change Committee is not balanced in having the input of just one climate scientist with particular views.
  2. There is place for another member of the Committee, without the Secretary of State exercising his power to extend the Committee.
  3. The “ open and competitive selection process” is a sham as was shown when David Kennedy was selected to become DECC’s new permanent secretary but refused the job on political grounds.

On 4th August I received an email from Ed Davey saying. “Thank you for contacting me. My private office at the Department of Energy and Climate Change will get back to you soon.”

They haven’t.

I think this a classic “Yes Minister” situation, where DECC is controlled by a civil service who don’t want to know about climate change.

Geoff Beacon

12th October 2013

Appendix – My letter to Ed Davey

Ed Davey
Secretary of State for the Energy and Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
3 Whitehall Place

Dear Secretary of State

Broadening the expertise of the CCC

Thank you for speaking to me on Wednesday.

I have checked the legislation on appointments to the Committee on Climate Change and you are able to appoint members of the CCC. The relevant sections of the Climate Change Act 2008 are Schedule 1 (Membership) and Paragraph 47 (Relevant national authorities). You are the relevant national authority for England (actually “in relation to all other matters” & etc).

Schedule 1 states that apart from the chair there should be “not less than five and not more than eight other members appointed by the national authorities”. Section 1 paragraph (4) says “the Secretary of State may by order amend sub-paragraph (1)(b) so as to alter the minimum or maximum number of members of the Committee.”

The CCC website currently says “The CCC comprises a Chairman and seven independent members.” This means you can appoint one further member, after consulting the Chairman, without recourse to Section 1 paragraph (4) but you can increase the number of members of the committee if you wished.

I think it would be excellent if you broadened the range of experience on climate science available to the CCC by appointing extra member(s) the knowledge of the state of climate change and the under performance of climate models. You may be aware of Professor James Hansen’s evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee. Although acknowledging the usefulness of climate models, Professor Hansen did point out that climate feedbacks are not adequately understood and factored into climate models

I have made a similar point about the failings of the climate models to be used for the coming IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

You may also like to look at the exchanges I had with the CCC in 2008/2009. I think my questions were answered inaccurately or evasively. Lord Deben has kindly agreed to accept further correspondence on this matter.


Geoff Beacon

12th July 2013

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