IIED congratulates Sir Jim Skea on knighthood

The IPCC chair is recognised in the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours List for his dedication to ensuring the challenges of climate change are understood and action to avert them is undertaken.

News, 14 June 2024
A man stands, head slightly bowed, at a podium to give a speech, with a blue IPCC flag behind him.

Sir Jim Skea, who has been awarded a knighthood, launches the IPCC's seventh assessment cycle in Istanbul in January 2024 (Photo: Catherine Baker, IIED)

IIED executive director Tom Mitchell has congratulated professor Jim Skea on being awarded a knighthood, saying it recognises a lifetime commitment to helping humanity understand the seriousness of climate change and how to respond to it.

Sir Jim was elected chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in July 2023.  

During his term, Skea and his team are being hosted by IIED, connecting them with more diverse sources of knowledge and expertise, particularly Indigenous Peoples, local communities and least developed countries.

Mitchell said IIED is proud to be hosting the internationally renowned scientific leader at a time when acting on the climate crisis could not be more urgent.

“Sir Jim is rightly being honoured for his contribution to the understanding of one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity," he said. "As chair of the IPCC, his work is critical to helping policymakers grapple with the risks posed by climate change and how we respond.

“Sir Jim’s knighthood recognises the important voice of scientists. It is also timely, given the alarming rise in global temperatures we’re experiencing.

“Now, more than ever, we must listen to the warnings of Sir Jim and the thousands of scientists he works with. The time for bold action is now.”

Skea has nearly 40 years of climate science experience and expertise, and has been involved with the IPCC since the early 1990s. In the sixth assessment cycle he was co-chair of working group III, assessing the mitigation of climate change.

In a statement released by the IPCC, he said he was humbled and honoured by the recognition, adding it is a privilege to lead the world’s best scientists on delivering the most authoritative scientific reports about climate change.

“This honour comes in the middle of the critical decade for climate action. It is a powerful recognition for the voice of science,” he said.

“Climate change has confronted humanity with unprecedented challenges. But science and the IPCC’s work have shown that we have the knowledge, means and tools to address them. We have agency over our future if we choose to use it.”