What inspired you to take on the Climate Change Commission role?
I retired from a full-time chief executive responsibility when my contract with the University of Canterbury came to an end last January. I was looking forward to a slower pace of life with a few directorships. But I became aware the government was establishing the Commission and would be looking for a chair. When I happened to mention it to my kids, in a round-the-table dinner conversation, they were pretty adamant this was the only job I should do in my retirement, should the government choose to appoint me. I should let all other ones go, because this was the issue for their generation. You could say it’s pretty compelling when your four kids tell you it’s not time to hang up your boots.
It’s a huge issue to tackle, and there’s a feeling of hopelessness amongst some youth that those at the top will actually do something. What’s your message to these young people?
Despair is never a good place to be. I have enormous confidence in the creativity of human beings. I’m a realistic optimist