Who Will Lead The U.N. On Climate Change?


photo via Climate Changer

A few weeks ago, UN Climate Chief Yvo de Boer stepped down from his post as the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat. Who replaces him figures to be a signal of where the UN is going on climate change. Developing countries have had a hard road to climb in the UN process and three are stepping up to nominate a replacement for Boer. South Africa has put forward their Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Indonesia and India too are said to be considering nominations, Reuters reports.

"Whoever is chosen as de Boer's successor will above all need to be able to build trust between major industrialized and developing economies," Kenber said. De Boer has suggested his replacement should be from a developing nation.

The choice is up to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who says stronger action by all, mainly to curb emissions from burning fossil fuels, is needed to avert more heatwaves, droughts, floods and rising sea levels.

Delegates from 194 nations will meet in Bonn, Germany, next month to try to prepare the next major talks, in Mexico from November 29 to December 10. Few expect a full-blown treaty this year and South Africa will host the talks in 2011.

If the nomination comes from a developing country, it could mean that the UN is throwing its weight behind countries most at risk from climate change's impacts. It also mean an increased emphasis on climate equity, the idea that climate action can only be viewed as a success if it leads to greater wealth transfer and a fulfillmet of climate debt. The US, for instance, is the world's 2nd largest polluter behind China, but 1st in historical terms. It owes a carbon debt to countries suffering from climate change that have not done nearly the amount of polluting that the US has over the years.

More on Yvo de Boer:

UN Climate Chief Yvo de Boer to Step Down : TreeHugger
Time is Running Out for Global Climate Deal, UN Leader Says