The Burntwood Lecture 2020 with Professor Jim Skea

Thursday, 3 December 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm

The Burntwood Lecture returns this year as a virtual event providing an opportunity for an eminent speaker to talk on a current, critical and often controversial environmental theme. 

This year's lecture will be delivered online and open with a short lecture from Professor Jim Skea, before he joins Roger Harrabin in conversation to explore whether scientific evidence informs and delivers coherent environmental action, challenges faced from climate change and the role of nature based solutions in tackling the climate crisis. Each of our invited respondents will add their remarks, share their current experiences and contribute to the discussion before the floor is opened up to attendees to ask questions. You will be able to put your question directly to the speaker via microphone or the Q&A function available during the event. 

Attend this year's Burntwood Lecture to hear from influential highly regarded environmental professionals working at the forefront of climate change, utilise the opportunity to put your questions directly to the speakers, network with fellow professionals and engage with one of the most prestigious environmental events of the year. 

Hear from eminent speakers including;

Professor Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III
Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE, Founder, Director and Trustee of Forum for the Future
Roger Harrabin Energy and Environment Analyst at the BBC
Sophie Marjanac, Climate Accountability Lead and Senior Lawyer at ClientEarth
Dr Peter Brotherton, Lead Director for Climate Change at Natural England
Pankaj Bhatia Deputy Director of Climate at World Resources Institute

About the lecture

2020 saw a number of notable and worrying weather-related occurrences across the globe, from the hottest August day in the UK in 17 years, to record-breaking wildfires across the USA and Australia, to further extensive shrinking of polar ice, to name just a few. These events serve as a stark reminder of the climate crisis and the effect it is having on global weather patterns.

The last two years have seen a series of prestigious global environmental assessment reports from the IPCC on "Global Warming of 1.5°C", "Climate Change and Land", and "The Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate"; the global assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and the UN Global Environmental Outlook. Together they send clear a message about the impact of human activities on climate change and biodiversity, and nature’s payback in terms of human well-being. All are thoroughly reviewed, accepted by governments at sometimes painful approval sessions, and all fall under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme.

But do they deliver coherent messages to inform environmental action that is both effective and equitable?

Drawing in particular on the IPCC report on climate change and land and IPBES, Professor Jim Skea will examine the coherence of scientific messaging and how this plays out in a policy world that is sensitive to both the loss of nature, and social and economic justice. 

Our speaker

Jim Skea is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London with research interests in energy, climate change and technological innovation. His current main role is as Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III for the 6th assessment cycle. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre 2004-12 and Director of the Policy Studies Institute 1998-2004. He has operated at the interface between research, policy-making and business throughout his career. He was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change from its inception in 2008 until 2018. He is currently chairing Scotland’s Just Transition Commission. Until June 2017, he was President of the UK Energy Institute. He was awarded a CBE for services to sustainable energy in 2013 and an OBE for services to sustainable transport in 2004. 

Our chair

Roger Harrabin is the BBC's Energy and Environment Analyst, and one of their senior journalists on the environment and energy. He has broadcast on environmental issues since the 1980s and has won many awards in print, TV and radio. Aside from his specialty he has covered many major general news stories. He is a Visiting Fellow at Green Templeton College, Oxford, an Associate Press Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge and has received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Cranfield University. 

Event schedule 

19:00 - Welcome from the IES Chair, Gary Kass
19:10 - Welcome from the evening's Chair, Roger Harrabin
19:15 - The Burntwood Lecture, Professor Jim Skea - Is there coherent scientific advice in support of environmental action?
19:30 - Roger Harrabin in conversation with Professor Jim Skea
19:40 - Remarks from the evening's respondents; Sir Jonathon Porritt CBE, Sophie Marjanac, Climate Accountability Lead and Senior Lawyer at ClientEarth, Dr Peter Brotherton, Lead Director for Climate Change at Natural England, Pankaj Bhatia Deputy Director of Climate at World Resources Institute
19:50 - Q&A Session
20:20 - Plenary
20:30 - Event close 


Secure your front row seat, this allows you to ask questions directly to the speaker and engage in the Q&A session. If you don't secure a front row seat do not worry, this event will be live streamed on our YouTube channel.



Sponsor this year's lecture

Sponsoring The Burntwood Lecture offers you the unique opportunity to connect with respected members of the environmental community, build brand awareness and show your company’s support for and affiliation with the environmental sector. The invited audience, numbering around 150, come from the environmental professions, universities and government. Our events reach many key audience segments and provide an engaging platform for you to reach clients and potential employees. For more information about our sponsorship opportunities please download our sponsorship pack.

If your organisation is interested in contributing to the making of one of the most high profile events in the environmental calendar, please contact


The IES aim to provide events, conferences and workshops which are accessible to all. If you anticipate needing any type of assistance to fully participate in this event, please email Rhianna Jarvis on or call +44 (0)20 3862 7484 to speak to somebody in person.

Who to contact

Derek Jardine

Events & Training Lead

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