Tuesday, June 29, 2010

United Nations New Climate Chief Says Final Deal Unlikely in Her Lifetime

UN’s New Climate Chief Says Final Deal Unlikely in Her Lifetime .

Wednesday, 09 June 2010 00:00
Idowu Akin .

Following the resignation of Yvo de Boer as the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a new UN climate chief Christiana Figueres of Costa Rica has been appointed as the new UN climate chief. She is an expert on climate negotiations and the daughter of the country's former president.

Figueres has been a member of Costa Rica's negotiating team on climate change since 1995 and therefore well experienced in the processes of climate change negotiation. There had been speculation that the South African tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk was favourite to get the job, but Figueres succeeded after a series of consultations with leaders of developing nations.

De Boer announced his departure two months after the poor performance at the last climate change convention held in Copenhagen, Denmark that ended with a non-binding accord promising emissions cuts and immediate financing for poor countries – but even that failed to win consensus agreement. This appointment will take effect just five months before 193 nations will meet again in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010 for another attempt to reach a worldwide legal agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican who on July 8 will take the helm of the United Nations body that organizes global climate-change treaty talks, said an all- encompassing deal is unlikely to happen in her lifetime.

Governments must instead focus on making incremental efforts to end global warming because the response “is going to require the sustained effort of those who will be here for the next 20, 30, 40 years,” Figueres, 53, told reporters today in Bonn, where the latest two-week round of talks is taking place.

“I do not believe we will ever have a final agreement on climate change, certainly not in my lifetime,” Figueres said. “If we ever have a final, conclusive, all-answering agreement, then we will have solved this problem. I don’t think that’s in the cards.”

African leaders are also preparing to make there position clear and in one voice in the forthcoming summit. Thorough analysis of the events so far points to the fact that the Cancun conference probably will yield only a first answer on curbing greenhouse gases, but a legally binding climate change treaty is not likely until next year at the earliest.

Understanding this, African representatives must insist on the concept of differentiated responsibility and determine to maximise the benefits made possible from the financial assistance to be given, if ever, by rich nations to enable adaptation. This should be used among other things to enhance development of climate friendly energy resources and technology.

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