Climate chief: It's time for a woman to lead UN

STOCKHOLM -- The United Nations' lead official on climate change says the next UN leader should be a woman, but she has no plans to seek the job.

See Full Article

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, says a female candidate should succeed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when he finishes his second term this year.

But when asked whether she could be that woman, the 59-year-old Costa Rican diplomat told The Associated Press on Monday it was "not within my plans."

Figueres' role in shaping last year's long-awaited Paris Agreement to fight climate change has raised her international profile.

Four men and three other women so far have been nominated for the post. Although the UN nomination system observes no fixed rule, many diplomats take the view that it's Eastern Europe's turn to receive the top post under an informal rotation system. Six of the existing candidates are from Eastern Europe.

Figueres says she hasn't decided what to do after she leaves her job in July after six years in charge.

The Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think-tank , listed Figueres among its "women to watch" in the race for secretary-general, while Vogue magazine called her "one of the most promising" potential candidates.

Jean Krasno, a City College of New York professor who oversees a campaign to elect a woman as the next UN leader, described Figueres as "exactly the kind of secretary-general that we need, (someone) who can broker global agreements."

Figueres said it's "about time" that a woman gets the job.

"And I have no doubt that there will be strong candidates to compete for that responsibility," she said in a telephone interview from her office in Bonn, Germany.

She took the helm of UN climate change policy in 2010 at a low point following an acrimonious summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, that failed to produce an envisioned landmark agreement to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.

"I very quickly realized that the tone had to change," Figueres said.

Citing her motto of "Impossible is not a fact, it's an attitude," she set out to persuade government, business and civic leaders to keep their faith that diplomacy could rein in climate-changing pollution.

Chances for a deal improved in November 2014 when the world's top greenhouse gas polluters, China and the United States, jointly announced efforts to control their emissions. Figueres said she could see, by early 2015, that a global pact would be possible in Paris.

"My efforts no longer went into getting the agreement ... but rather to increasing the ambition" of the deal, she said.

The Paris Agreement sets a collective goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

The pact requires all countries to submit plans for climate action and to update them every five years, though such plans are not legally binding.

Figueres called the agreement "impressively ambitious" and delivery of its central goals should not be taken for granted.

"They are definitely a stretch for most countries if not all," she said.

The Paris Agreement must be ratified by at least 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions to enter into force. World leaders have been invited to the UN headquarters in New York for a signing ceremony April 22.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Indonesia survey shows massive coral death from cruise ship

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Indonesia says nearly 19,000 square metres of coral reef was damaged by a foreign cruise ship that ran aground in the pristine waters of Raja Ampat in West Papua province earlier this month. Source
  • Ground-breaking bat cave discovery gives Alberta researchers baseline in fight against deadly disease

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The recent discovery of a large cave or hibernacula in northern Alberta where hundreds of bats have found hibernating is giving researchers a baseline measurement in the fight against the deadly white-nose syndrome. "Up until now, within the bulk of Alberta, the large hibernacula we have found are in the Rocky Mountains, so it's nice to find that this is the third-largest known hibernacula in the province," Dave Critchley of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bat Caver program told The…
  • New categories of dinosaur family tree proposed by scientists

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Some of the best-known dinosaurs, like Tyrannosaurus rex and Brontosaurus, may be headed for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences. Scientists on Wednesday proposed a radical overhaul of the dinosaur family tree first laid out in 1888, concluding after an analysis of 75 species that the meat-eating group that includes T. Source
  • Lip-reading program more accurate than humans could help hearing-impaired

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Lip-reading is a notoriously tricky task. But researchers at the University of Oxford in the U.K. have created a computer program called Watch, Attend and Spell to do just that. They claim their lip-reading algorithm is more accurate than human professionals. Source
  • Arctic sea ice at record low for third straight year

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Arctic sea ice is at a record low for the third straight year. The measurements from the U.S.-based National Snow and Ice Data Center say the ice reached its maximum extent on March 7. Source
  • Waste not on World Water Day: Bob McDonald

    Tech & Science CBC News
    This year's theme for the United Nations World Water Day is, "Why Waste Water?" As the world demands more and more of our most precious resource, and sources seem to be drying up, the UN says there is a huge untapped reservoir that could help to meet the demand: wastewater. Source
  • Google Maps to allow others to track your movements

    Tech & Science CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Maps users will soon be able to broadcast their movements to friends and family -- the latest test of how much privacy people are willing to sacrifice in an era of rampant sharing. Source
  • Earthquakes could cause Los Angeles area to sink abruptly: study

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The Big One may be overdue to hit California, but scientists near Los Angeles have found a new risk for the area during a major earthquake: abrupt sinking of land, potentially below sea level. The last known major quake on the San Andreas fault occurred in 1857, but three quakes over the last 2,000 years on nearby faults made ground just outside Los Angeles city limits sink as much as one metre, according to a study published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports. Source
  • Rusty-patched bumblebee first of species declared endangered in continental U.S.

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The rusty-patched bumblebee became the first officially endangered bee species in the continental U.S. on Tuesday, overcoming objections from some business interests and a last-minute delay ordered by the Trump administration. One of many bee types that have suffered steep population declines, the rusty-patched has disappeared from about 90 per cent of its range in the past 20 years. Source
  • Apple cuts prices on lower-end iPads, releases red iPhones

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW YORK - Apple is cutting prices on two iPad models and introducing red iPhones, but the company held back on updating its higher-end iPad Pro tablets. A much-speculated 10.5-inch iPad Pro didn't materialize, nor did new versions of existing sizes in the Pro lineup, which is aimed at businesses and creative professionals. Source