UN Climate Chief to Step Down

Source:

"Copenhagen wasn't what I had hoped it would be"

Top UN climate change official Yvo de Boer told The Associated Press Thursday that he was resigning after nearly four years, a period when governments struggled without success to agree on a new global warming deal.

His departure takes effect July 1, five months before 193 nations are due to reconvene in Mexico for another attempt to reach a binding worldwide accord on controlling greenhouse gases.

Mr. de Boer is known to be deeply disappointed with outcome of the last summit in Copenhagen, which drew 120 world leaders but failed to reach more than a vague promise by several countries to limit carbon emissions—and even that deal fell short of consensus.

But he denied to the AP that his decision to quit was a result of frustration with Copenhagen.

"Copenhagen wasn't what I had hoped it would be," he acknowledged, but the summit nonetheless prompted governments to submit plans and targets for reigning in the emissions primarily blamed for global warming. "I think that's a pretty solid foundation for the global response that many are looking for," he said.

"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."

The media-savvy former Dutch civil servant and climate negotiator was widely credited with raising the profile of climate issues through his frequent press encounters and his backstage lobbying of world leaders.

But his constant travel and frenetic diplomacy failed to bridge the suspicions and distrust between developing and industrial countries that barred the way to a final agreement at the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

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