Sir Crispin Tickell has long been a pioneer in linking environmental and in particular climate change to the worlds of politics and business. For many years he was an informal adviser on such issues to successive British Prime Ministers. Until recently he was Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin 21st Century School at Oxford University. He is associated with several other British universities as well as universities in the United States.
Most of his career was in the Diplomatic Service. He was Chef de Cabinet to the President of the European Commission (1977-80); Ambassador to Mexico (1981-83); Permanent Secretary of the Overseas Development Administration (now DFID) (1984-87); and British Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1987-90). He then became Warden of Green College, Oxford (1990-97), and set up the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy and Understanding, which later became the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin School. Among other things he was President of the Royal Geographical Society (1990-93); Chairman of the Board of the Climate Institute of Washington DC (1990-2002); Convenor of the Government Panel on Sustainable Development (1994-2000); a Trustee of the Baring Foundation (1992-2002); Chairman of the Advisory Committee on the Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species (1992-99); a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (1992-2006); Chancellor of the University of Kent (1996-2006); Inaugural Senior Visiting Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment (2002-03); and Adviser At Large to the President of Arizona State University from 2002. Since 2007 he has been President of Tree Aid. He also has business interests, including being Director (Non Executive) of IBM (UK) (1990-95).
He is author of Climate Change and World Affairs (1977 and 1986) and Mary Anning of Lyme Regis (1996). He has contributed to many books on environmental issues (including human population problems, resource depletion and conservation of biodiversity). He was a member of two Government Task Forces: one on Urban Regeneration, the other on Potentially Hazardous Near Earth Objects. He has received many honours and distinctions. His interests go wide: they range from international governance and economics to climate, pre-Columbian art, and the early history and future of the Earth.