James has a background in environmental science – particularly meteorology, oceanography and hydrology. Early in his career he designed and installed an automatic weather station which still operates on the summit of Cairngorm. Through various posts within government and agencies, he became Chief Executive of SEPA, retiring in 2015. For a while he also founded and ran an eco-store/cafe in Glasgow. He has been an honorary professor of Stirling University and has chaired the WWF Scotland advisory council and the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum, he was a board member of SNIFFER, and also served on many groups such as the Ministerial zero waste task team, green growth group, and expert panel on unconventional oil and gas. James has a long-standing concern about climate change, being a UK government reviewer of IPCC reports, and served as a non-exec on the Scottish Government’s climate change delivery board. He is currently Chair of the James Hutton Institute, on the board of the Green Purposes Company which oversees the recently-privatised Green Investment Bank, chairs Climate Ready Clyde, and has very recently prepared a climate change action plan for the Isle of Man Government.
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