Tributes paid after DECC’s former science chief David MacKay dies at 48

Energy secretary Amber Rudd leads tributes as former chief scientific advisor loses battle with stomach cancer

By Jim Dunton

15 Apr 2016

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) former chief scientific advisor Prof Sir David MacKay has died at the age of 48.

MacKay served with DECC from 2009 to 2014, and was succeeded by John Loughhead when his five-year term came to an end.

He received a knighthood in recognition of services to scientific advice in government and science outreach in January’s New Year’s Honours List.

Environment secretary Amber Rudd paid tribute to MacKay’s achievements at the department.

“David was the model of a scientist in government; challenging, insightful and with the ability to explain the most complex subjects in a clear way,” she said.

“His legacy, including the 2050 calculator now emulated across the world, and his brilliant book on sustainable energy, was deservedly recognised by a knighthood earlier this year.

“His ideas and arguments will continue to influence how we deal with climate change.”

MacKay published Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air nine months before his appointment at DECC. He chronicled his battle with terminal stomach cancer – which he was diagnosed with in 2015 – on his personal blog, with a final post published on April 10.

Rudd's coalition government predecessor as energy secretary, Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, said MacKay's death was a "tragic loss of one of the UK's most brilliant men" who had "shaped key green policies".

Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who was energy secretary under Gordon Brown in the last Labour government said MacKay was "...passionate, original, brave. A truly good man".

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