UK govt hires new science adviser

Professor John Loughhead has been hired to replace David Mackay as the chief scientific adviser of the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said that Loughhead “brings a depth of knowledge that will be invaluable in areas such as shale gas, as well as keeping the UK as an energy world leader and creating momentum towards a global climate change deal”.

Loughhead most recently served as executive director of the UK Energy Research Centre.

While the bulk of his work has been centred on electrical industrial research and development, Loughhead also recently chaired the European independent research consortium on hydraulic fracturing known as ReFINE.

Outgoing adviser Mackay, who has been appointed to a royal professorship at Cambridge University, co-authored last year’s Mackay/Stone report supporting shale gas exploration from a climate change perspective.

The expert report found that shale gas would create a significantly lower carbon footprint than coal and slightly lower footprint than imported Middle Eastern liquefied natural gas.

DECC endorsed the findings of the report that sought new research, better monitoring and greater use of new technology to allow shale as to be produced with the least possible greenhouse gas emissions.

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