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David Cameron picks John Gummer to chair Committee on Climate Change

Posted on 06 July 2012

Lord Deben (better known as John Gummer) has been selected by the
prime minister to succeed Lord Adair Turner as chair of the Committee on
Climate Change, the independent body established under the Climate
Change Act to advise the Government on emissions targets.

Lord Deben said in a statement: "I look forward to building upon the
firm foundations that Adair Turner has laid. I am determined that the
Committee on Climate Change will remain firmly independent, giving
impartial, scientifically well-founded advice to the UK Government and
devolved administrations.”

Secretary of state for energy and climate change, Ed Davey, welcomed
the appointment by saying: "The Committee on Climate Change plays an
absolutely critical role in advising the government on the direction and
progress of its energy and climate change policies.

"Lord Deben has vast knowledge and experience of the environmental
sector, including a distinguished track record in both government and in
business, and a detailed knowledge of climate change issues. I am very
much looking forward to working with him as we move into a critical
period on climate change issues both at home and abroad.”

Lord Deben it was who co-authored with Zac Goldsmith in 2007 the
radical 'blueprint for a green revolution' as part of the Quality of
Life Policy Group, that was backed by David Cameron before his election.
This is partly credited for the prime minister announcing the intention
to create "the greenest government ever".

At the time, Conservative peer Gummer said: "I see no contradiction
between greenness and beefeconomic success. The green revolution can do
for Britain what the industrial revolution did a couple of hundred years
ago." When questioned on why he owned three cars, including a seven
seater 4×4, he responded that this was essential for his Suffolk
constituency.

The appointment was also welcomed by Dr Doug Parr, policy director at
Greenpeace UK, who called him: "an independent-minded candidate who
brings a record of strong relationships across politics and business. He
has the authority to build on the excellent reputation for vigorous,
evidence-based analysis that has made the Committee on Climate Change
such an internationally respected authority," he added.

John Gummer served as secretary of state for the environment and
minister for agriculture, fisheries and food under Margaret Thatcher. He
was twice awarded the title "Parliamentarian who did most for the
environment internationally" by the BBC, and Friends of the Earth has
described him as "the best environment secretary we've ever had".

He will have to divide his time between numerous other occupations: 

chairman of the Association of Independent Financial Advisers;
chairman of Forewind Ltd;
chairman of Sancroft International Ltd;
chairman of Valpak Ltd;
chairman of Veolia UK;
non-executive director of Castle Trust Capital Ltd;
non-executive director of the Catholic Herald;
non-executive director of Veolia Voda;
a trustee of the Blue Marine Foundation;
trustee of the British Architectural Library Trust;
president of GLOBE International;
the board of directors of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation;
and a trustee of the Theodore Trust.

He is not an uncontroversial figure: besides being famous for once
feeding his daughter a beefburger on television, to persuade people that
British beef did not contain BSE, he was once called "the biggest
shitbag I have ever met" by the Norwegian minister of environmental
affairs, Thorbjørn Berntsen, for refusing to discuss the issue of acid
rain carried from the UK to Norway and killing its lakes.

And during the Parliamentary expenses scandal, it emerged that he
claimed expenses for mole-catching, removing jackdaw nests and
gardening, on his estate in Debenham, Suffolk.