Climate change luminaries and green energy activists are among those awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year, as recommended by the British government’s ‘Honours Committee’, it has been revealed.
Honours are awarded to around 2,700 people each year, split across two lists: the Queen’s Birthday and the New Years lists. As the Queen has just celebrated her official birthday, the 2015 birthday list was recently published. But as in recent years, the list has once again been criticised for rewarding establishment figures.
Amongst those figures are David Warrilow, Deputy Director of Science and Innovation and Head of Science at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who was handed an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for “services to Science”.
Warrilow is the head of the UK’s delegation to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is also a member of the UK’s delegations to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a position he has risen to after a long civil service career first at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and more recently with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Although his early research work in the 1980s appears to be on subjects such as the deforestation of the Amazon and modelling of land surfaces, Mr Warrilow has long been an advocate of the climate change agenda in his professional role, and of promoting behaviour change amongst the public to that end: whilst Mr Warrilow was head of Defra’s department on Climate, Energy and Ozone, the department released A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours, which set out ways in which government can coerce or nudge the public into doing more for the environment, with a focus on saving carbon.
Unsurprisingly, considering his long-standing ties within the climate change establishment, Mr Warrilow is among those involved in the correspondence revealed by the Climategate scandal, having been copied into emails which show academics working alongside DECC to prepare chapters for the IPCC’s reports.
Andrew Montford of the Bishop Hill blog claims that Warrilow is “someone who operates very much in the shadows.”
In 2013, The Register reported that Warrilow failed to attend a London court hearing to give evidence on the refusal by the IPCC to release the first draft of it’s reports for public scrutiny, preferring to send a representative from the Met Office in his stead. The judge in the case was unimpressed, demanding that Warrilow provide a written statement to the court.
Also on the Honours list is David Surplus, director of the B9 Energy Group, who has been awarded an OBE for “services to Renewable Energy, particularly in Northern Ireland.”
According to it’s website, the B9 Energy Group “was created in 1992 with the specific purpose of developing renewable energy projects. Having pioneered wind energy it is now the largest independent operator of windfarms across the UK and Ireland with 49 sites and 750 turbines under its management.”
The Group also includes companies which are actively developing offshore wind, wave, tidal and anaerobic digestion projects, as well as a project involving “100% renewably powered coastal cargo vessels,” and a consultancy arm.
Mr Surplus has set out his belief in a “changing world” on the website, stating “I’m an engineer; I thrive on data, statistics and facts. From all the evidence that comes my way my overall assessment is that we are cutting it very, very fine but I firmly believe we can ensure that we create a habitable – if different – planet for our children.
“We must embrace the resources remaining available to us and collaborate to seek out inspirational engineering solutions; we must make good use of an abundance of human talent and recognise the immense opportunities in the inter-connectedness on offer to us.”
One resource long open to Mr Surplus has been the generous public subsidies which have allowed his company to grow and flourish. It is not clear how much money the company has received in subsidies so far, but it is likely to run into the millions thanks to decades of operating in the field.
For example, in 1992, B9 was awarded one of just two wind farm schemes awarded subsidies by the Northern Irish government; the other was Lord McAlpine’s Renewable Energy Systems.
B9’s biomass arm also won a contract in that round of funding, to build a 200 kW wood-burning CHP power station in Armagh. At the time Northern Ireland Electricity pointed out that biomass costs twice as much as other renewable technologies, which are in turn more expensive than fossil fueled energy sources.
Another climate establishment figure who makes the list is Dr David Kennedy, formerly Chief Executive to the Committee on Climate Change on which he worked alongside Lord Deben. He receives a CBE “for services to the Environment.”