Defra and the Devolved Administrations have appointed Professor Nathalie Seddon, Dr Ben Caldecott and Dr Swenja Surminski to the Adaptation Committee of the Climate Change Committee.
The Adaptation Committee (AC) is comprised of experts in the fields of climate change impacts, science, environmental economics, conservation, public health and business, and provides independent, expert advice on preparing for and adapting to climate change to UK and devolved governments and parliaments.
Whilst these appointments are not regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, they have been made in line with the guidance set out in the Ministerial Governance Code for Public Appointments. They will run from 1st May 2022 to 30th April 2025.
Climate Adaptation Minister Jo Churchill said:
I’m pleased to welcome Professor Seddon, Dr Caldecott and Dr Surminski to the CCC’s Adaptation Committee.
Their expertise will be invaluable as the committee continues to provide crucial advice to the UK Government and devolved administrations on how we can ensure that we are prepared for the impacts of climate change.
Baroness Brown, Chair of the Committee, said:
I am delighted to welcome the three new members of the Adaptation Committee of the Climate Change Committee: Professors Swenja Surminski, Nathalie Seddon and Ben Caldecott. The growing recognition of the importance of adapting to climate change, and of the Committee’s work, was reflected in an impressive field of candidates for these roles. Swenja, Nathalie and Ben will help us build on the analysis underpinning the third climate change risk assessment, especially in the key areas of business risk and preparedness, the natural environment and financing adaptation.
Professor Seddon will take on the role of natural environment and agriculture lead within the Committee, previously held by the late Georgina Mace and then by Professor Kate Jones.
Dr Caldecott will be leading on economics and natural capital within the Committee, previously led by Ece Ozdemiroglu.
Dr Surminski will be taking on the role of leading the Committee’s work on addressing climate change risks to business and industry, previously held by Rosalyn Schofield.
Professor Seddon said:
It is a great honour and privilege to be taking up the role of Natural Environment Lead on the Adaptation Committee, a position once held by the late Dame Georgina Mace. An inspiring colleague and mentor, Georgina was the leading light on the fundamental importance of biodiversity for human wellbeing. I want to ensure that we build on her great work and realise her vision, with a focus on how best to scale up nature-based solutions to address climate change and biodiversity loss in the UK.
I am looking forward to working alongside brilliant colleagues to ensure that the best evidence informs and enables a just transition from where we are now (living in an increasingly climate-vulnerable country with badly degraded natural habitats), to where we need to be (living as part of resilient, biodiverse and flourishing landscapes). The UK has an opportunity and an obligation to make this transition, not only for our own benefit but to inspire other nations to do the same.
Dr Caldecott said:
Adaptation investments reduce knowable (and unknowable) future damages from climate impacts, and adaptation investments today can deliver growth, improvements in productivity, and potential “win-wins” for climate mitigation and nature recovery. Integrating climate risk into economic and financial decision-making across society is essential for these productive and necessary investments in our national resilience to materialise.
I am excited to be working with my new colleagues on the Adaptation Committee on these and related topics. We know every future state has some greater combination of climate-related risk and we need to take action today to reduce and manage those risks. The work of the Adaptation Committee is a critical part of the UK response to understanding and planning for this darkening risk landscape.
Dr Surminski said:
I am very excited to join the AC at this important time, when the need for adaptation is growing, but action including public and private investment still lagging. Climate change impacts are getting worse, and also increasingly complex and more difficult to manage.
Importantly, adaptation is an investment, with multiple benefits today and tomorrow. I am keen to work with the AC, with Government, the Devolved Administrations and the private sector to help close the adaptation gap.
For many years I have been a close collaborator of the AC, including as lead author of the UKCCRA2 and 3. I am very grateful for all the support and guidance, including from my predecessor Rosalyn Schofield.
Professor Nathalie Seddon
Nathalie is Professor of Biodiversity and Founding Director of the Nature-based Solutions Initiative in the Department of Biology at the University of Oxford. Nathalie trained as an ecologist at Cambridge University and has over 25 years of research experience in a range of ecosystems across the globe. As a University Research Fellow of the Royal Society, she developed broad research interests in the origins and maintenance of biodiversity and its relationship with global change. She holds a host of other positions, including Director of the Agile Initiative at the Oxford Martin School, co-Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery, and Founding non-executive Director of the Oxford University Social Venture, Nature-based insetting.
Dr Ben Caldecott
Ben is the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group and the inaugural Lombard Odier Associate Professor of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford. Ben is also the founding Director and Principal Investigator of the UK Centre for Greening Finance & Investment (CGFI), established by UK Research and Innovation in 2021 as the national centre to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions internationally.
Dr Swenja Surminski
Swenja has been Head of Adaptation Research at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics (LSE), overseeing research projects on climate risk management, finance and resilience strategies since 2017. She is also Chair of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative and a member of the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance. Swenja has recently accepted a new role as Managing Director Climate and Sustainability at Marsh McLennan. Her work focuses on capacity building and knowledge transfer between science, policy and industry, building on her work in industry and as advisor to governments, private sector and civil society, including as Visiting Academic at the Bank of England.
All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. Adaptation Sub-Committee members receive £550 per day based on a time commitment of up to three days per month.
- The Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), commonly referred to as the Adaptation Committee (AC) of the Climate Change Committee, is an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body created under the Climate Change Act (2008). The ASC is jointly sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. Further information about the CCC is available at: www.theccc.org.uk.
- The Board for the ASC comprises a Chairperson and five members.