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When I'm 65

The Times

Happy Birthday Tom Burke, 65

The environmental policy adviser Tom Burke thinks that environmentalists are winning the argument about climate change with the government, business and the public: “We’re only losing it with the media who are rather bored and want to move on to the next, new thing.”
He is not worried about getting older: “The great thing about growing up in the Sixties was that the idea of getting old never occured to us. That Bob Dylan song Forever Young always gets it just right for me.

Winning the argument?

Depends on who you listen to, I suppose.
But banging the drum seems to have been an agreeable career....Friends of the Earth, BP, Rio Tinto, Secretaries of State...

Tom Burke is a Founding Director of E3G. He is a currently an Environmental Policy Adviser to Rio Tinto plc and a Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London. He is a Senior Business Advisor to the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change. He is Chairman of the Editorial Board of ENDS magazine. He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to chair an Independent Review of Environmental Governance in Northern Ireland from 2006 – 2007. He was a member of the Council of English Nature, the statutory advisor to the British Government on biodiversity from 1999 – 2005. During 2002 he served as an advisor to the Central Policy Group in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991 – 1997 after serving as Director of the Green Alliance from 1982 – 1991. He was an environmental advisor (part time) to BP plc from 1997 – 2001. He was a member of the OECD’s High Level Panel on the Environment 1996 – 1998. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was a member of the Council from 1990-92 sitting on its Environment Committee 1988 – 1996. He also served on the Executive Committee of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations from 1984 – 1989. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Cranfield Institute of Management and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Manchester Business School. He was formerly Executive Director of Friends of the Earth and a member of the Executive Committee of the European Environmental Bureau 1988 – 1991. He was the Secretary-General of the Bergen 1990 Environment NGO Conference 1988-90. He was a member of the Board of the World Energy Council’s Commission ‘Energy for Tomorrow’s World’ 1990 – 1993. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Conservation International’s Centre for Environmental Leadership in Business in the US. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Energy Institute. He also serves on the Advisory Council of the Carbon Disclosure Project. He is a Patron of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and a Vice-President of Environmental Protection UK. In 1993 he was appointed to United Nations Environment Programme’s ‘Global 500’ roll of honour. In 1997, he was appointed CBE for services to the environment. He was awarded Royal Humane Society testimonials on Vellum (1968) and Parchment (1970).


Have to appreciate the "Special Olympics" ad that pops up after a resume devoted to promoting global warming.

Being a former Executive Director of Friends of the Earth appears to have helped open plenty of doors in the business world, not only for Tom Burke but also his successors Charles Secrett and Tony Juniper, all of whom are now Senior Associates at HRH Prince Charles's University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) and two of whom (Secrett and Juniper) are founder members of the Robertsbridge Group, "probably the best-networked sustainability consultancy around", according to its website. It's a small world - but also a very well-connected one, it seems!

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