UNFCCC chief Yvo de Boer resigns, raising further Mexico questions.
In a move that apparently didn't surprise those who knew him, United Nations top climate official Yvo de Boer announced his resignation on Thursday, effective July 1 this year. He has served in that capacity since being appointed by Kofi Annan in 2006.
De Boer cited disappointment in the general failure of December's Copenhagen summit, and reports in the Associated Press and elsewhere indicate that he was exhausted by four years of pushing for an international climate agreement. In Bali in 2007 he helped push through an agreement among developing countries to curb emissions if compensated by wealthier nations, but the high-profile Copenhagen meeting resulted in only a vague non-binding agreement.
The timing of his departure raises questions for the next global climate conference, scheduled to take place in Mexico later this year. De Boer told the AP that international climate talks are "on track," but suggested—as many have already—that the Mexico meeting take a different approach. Rather than large meetings involving most or all of the 192 countries involved, talks might move forward better if smaller group meetings are held separately and foundations for a treaty are laid piece by piece instead of all at once.
Always understated and diplomatic with the media, de Boer's resignation interview downplayed what many have reported was deep disappointment with Copenhagen's failure: ""We were about an inch away from a formal agreement. It was basically in our grasp, but it didn't happen," he said. "So that was a pity."
There is no indication as of yet as to who might replace de Boer. Although obviously the executive secretary position acts merely as a facilitator and does not hold the planet's future in his own hands, Mexico's prospects seem a bit bleaker than they did yesterday.
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Image via Wikimedia Commons.