Tony Blair’s former climate adviser now runs emissions trading lobby group

Blair’s lobby buddy

Tony Blair’s former climate adviser now runs one of the world’s biggest lobby groups, whose membership includes energy giants BP, Shell and E.ON.

Henry Derwent, Tony Blair’s special representative during the UK G8 Presidency in 2005, is now president and CEO of a lobby group called the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).

Derwent, who was known as “the face of UK climate change policy”, used to work as government’s international climate change director.

For many years Derwent played a lead role in Whitehall delegations to UN climate talks, but in Copenhagen this month he will be representing IETA’s 171-strong membership.

The association is expected to take the largest non-governmental delegation to the Copenhagen talks.

Derwent joined the association in 2007 after a successful career as a civil servant, where he worked for both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Transport.

Such was Derwent’s standing, that IETA chairman Jack Cogen boasted upon his appointment that he had recruited “the face of the UK climate change policy”.

He added in the official press release: “With Henry’s appointment IETA has ensured that it will continue to play an important role in the international discussions on the use of market mechanisms in the fight against climate change.”

Derwent joined IETA upon agreement with Defra that he would not lobby members of the British government within six months of his departure. Some critics have suggested the cooling-off period was not long enough.

Olivier Hoedeman, of the Corporate Europe Observatory, which researches lobbying in Europe, said: “This should not have been allowed. Six months is nothing – especially not when he is working in the same area.

“It basically the same issue as he was responsible for in the UK government. Normally speaking in European circles that would require a two-year break – although people are campaigning for longer, not six months.”

The association is based in Switzerland, and campaigns for “the establishment of effective market-based trading systems for greenhouse gas emissions”.

Derwent rejects claims he is able to wield undue influence because of his background.

He said: “The British government of the past 10 years or so has been very strong on emissions trading; and has continued to be long after I left. There is a recent report by Mark Lazarowicz which sets out the UK government’s position and it’s pretty close to our position anyway.

“The terms on which I left were that after my departure I was not allowed to lobby the British government for six months, which I kept to. But we don’t really lobby the British government anyway. In truth our work is much more focussed in Brussels, the European Commission, the United States and Tokyo.”


~ by Cory Morningstar on December 4, 2009.

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