Henry Derwent

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Global warming.jpg This article is part of the Climate project of Spinwatch.

Henry Derwent was a top climate adviser who became a government lobbyist for carbon trading and a director of the Carbon Trust. Previously he worked in the Department of Transport and as a corporate financier for an international investment bank. He is also president and CEO of the International Emissions Trading Association since 2007.

According to Channel 4's Who Knows Who Beta map, Derwent has board-room connections to James Cameron, RWE, E.ON, David Milliband, David Green, The Climate Group, Tony Blair, Lafarge, BP, Ofgem, Shell and Copenhagen Climate Council amongst others. [1]

Revolving door: From government to industry lobbyist in six months

According to an article by ClickGreen published on 3 December 09:[2]

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 according to Channel 4 News Who Knows Who.
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, which includes some of the world’s wealthiest companies. 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, told Channel 4 News: “This should not have been allowed. Six months is nothing – especially not when he is working in the same area.
“It’s 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. He will be in Copenhagen, that’s for sure.”
Derwent rejects claims he is able to wield undue influence because of his background, and links to Tony Blair.
He told Channel 4 News: “The British government of the past ten 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.”
Derwent says that IETA, based in Switzerland, is working to create reasons why the private sector should invest in low carbon, believing the best technique to achieve that end is to create a price for carbon.
Martyn Williams, of Friends of the Earth, told Channel 4 News: “Carbon emissions is something the government seems very keen on – whether that’s anything to do with Henry Derwent I don’t know – but there is a concern it is putting all its eggs in one basket when there could be other opportunities to explore. Carbon emissions trading clearly has a very well-funded lobby.”
High profile moves from government to the private sector need to be signed off by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, but because Derwent was below the threshold grade his employment switch was dealt with internally by his department.
A spokeswoman for Defra told Channel 4 News: “Defra can confirm that all the appropriate rules and permissions were complied with when Henry Derwent took up his post to be president of the International Emissions Trading Association. Both Defra and Cabinet Office were kept fully informed at all stages of the process.”

Biographical information








  1. Who Knows Who Henry Derwent Map, Accessed 06/12/09
  2. Click Green 'Blair's climate man should have been handed two year ban', Accessed 06/12/09