» Friday, September 7, 2007

Johan Eliasch

Asked to give details on the appointment of Mr Eliasch, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman replied that he could confirm that the Prime Minister had appointed Johan Eliasch as a Special Representative to advise the Prime Minister on the development of financial mechanisms, to promote sustainable forestry and clean energy and to tackle climate change. The PMS said that Mr Eliasch would conduct a review, reporting to the Prime Minister, into examining financial mechanisms to promote sustainable forestry and investment in low-carbon energy sources. He would work closely with the Secretaries of State for the Environment and International Development in doing so.

Asked what qualifications Mr Eliasch would be bringing to the position, the PMS said that he had a great deal of expertise in the general area relating to climate change. Mr Eliasch had been concerned about this subject for many years and established the charity "Cool Earth," to enable people to denote money, which could be combined together to protect the rainforest. Mr Eliasch had also devoted considerable time in recent years into researching and promoting mechanisms for international policy, such as the creation of carbon credits, to incentivise lower carbon emissions and reduce deforestation. The PMS went on to say that as a successful businessman, Mr Eliasch had particular expertise in financial mechanisms and had established expertise in this area.

Asked whether there was a party political slant to the appointment, the PMS reiterated that the basis on which Mr Eliasch had been appointed had been because of his expertise in relation to climate change and deforestation. Asked if the Prime Minister was happy with the way his "Government of all the talents" was shaping up, the PMS said that the Prime Minister was very happy with his Government.

Asked to elaborate on the financial mechanisms in terms of forestry, the PMS said that one of the issues Mr Eliasch would no doubt want to look at was the use of carbon credits and whether they could be better used to help protect rainforests. In a sense the purpose of the review would be to examine such issues in detail.

Asked when the Prime Minister approached Mr Eliasch, the PMS said he would not comment on private conversations between the Prime Minister and Mr Eliasch. Asked whether the position was a paid job, the PMS said that it was an unpaid position.

Asked whether he expected Mr Eliasch to become a Labour Party peer, the PMS said that he would not comment on party political matters. Asked when Mr Eliasch was expected to report back to the Prime Minister, the PMS said that the expectation was that he would report back in the course of next year.

Asked several times whether the Prime Minister had stipulated that Mr Eliasch should leave the Conservative Party in order to take up his post, the PMS said that the relationship between Mr Eliasch and the Conservative Party was a matter for him. The PMS reiterated that the basis on which the Prime Minister had appointed Mr Eliasch was for his expertise in relation to climate change and deforestation.

Asked whether Mr Eliasch was approached about the position before or after he had left the Conservative Party, the PMS repeated that he would not comment on private discussions between the Prime Minister and Mr Eliasch.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

1 Comment »

  1. Sleeping Partners? Or strange bedfellows? Ok, enough of the bed metaphors. Well, one more. I don’t really care who hooks up with whom and will sleep easier so long as the intent is genuine and the results tangible.

    Much has been made of Johan Eliasch’s move from Tory to Labour camp, and as is they way with the navel-gazing, feral beasties of the Westminster Village the environmental issues have taken second billing to the ‘defection’.

    But if… big IF… this means a guy who does seem to be smart and committed gets to whisper in Mr. Brown’s ear then it looks a pretty good thing. If… Mr. Brown listens.

    It will be interesting to see how this trend for multi-millionaires advising political leadership on motivating the masses in matters green pans out.

    In this case, as I have always seen merit in Cool Earth as a quick, big fix (well, delay), I am hopeful.

    ps: Is it really ‘denote’ and not ‘donate’?

    Comment by Peter — 8 Sep 2007 on 9:45 am | Link

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