Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top UN Climate Change Official Resigns

Feb 18: The top United Nations climate change official, Yvo de Boer who heads the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that he has made the "difficult decision" to step down from his position, citing his desire to pursue new opportunities to advance progress on the issue in both the private sector and academia. De Boer has led the organization since September 2006. The announcement comes just two months after the Copenhagen Accord was reached at December's UN conference in the Danish capital.
    De Boer will be joining the consultancy group KPMG as Global Adviser on Climate and Sustainability, as well as working with a number of universities. He said, "Working with my colleagues at the UNFCCC Secretariat in support of the climate change negotiations has been a tremendous experience. It was a difficult decision to make, but I believe the time is ripe for me to take on a new challenge, working on climate and sustainability with the private sector and academia. I have always maintained that while governments provide the necessary policy framework, the real solutions must come from business. Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming. This calls for new partnerships with the business sector and I now have the chance to help make this happen."
    According to an announcement, de Boer will remain in his current position until July 1, and help negotiations move forward ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Mexico in November this year [November 29 - December 10]. He said, "Countries responsible for 80% of energy related CO2 emissions have submitted national plans and targets to address the climate change. This underlines their commitment to meet the challenge of climate change and work towards an agreed outcome in Cancun." The Copenhagen Accord aims to jump-start immediate action on climate change and guide negotiations on long-term action, pledging to raise $100 billion annually by 2020. It also includes an agreement to working towards curbing global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and efforts to reduce or limit emissions.

    Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a new high-level advisory group, headed by the leaders of the United Kingdom and Ethiopia, intended to mobilize financing swiftly to help developing countries combat climate change [See WIMS 2/12/10]. The Advisory Group is charged with creating practical proposals to boost both short- and long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation strategies in developing countries. The Group is expected to produce a final report containing recommendations before the next Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Mexico.

    Access a release from the UN (click here). Access a second release from UNFCCC (click here). Access the UNFCCC website for additional information (click here).