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Mexican Ex-Foreign Minister Espinosa Nominated as UN Climate Chief

Mexico's ex-foreign minister Patricia Espinosa will succeed Christiana Figueres in the U.N. climate office
By The News · 03 of May 2016 09:43:50
Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa speaks during a news conference at the 41st General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in San Salvador, Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa speaks during a news conference at the 41st General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in San Salvador June 6, 2011. REUTERS/Luis Galdamez/File photo, photo: Reuters/Luis Galdámez

OSLO – Former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa has been nominated to be the new U.N. climate chief, helping to bolster a 2015 Paris Agreement to shift the world economy from fossil fuels, officials said on Tuesday.

Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican who is stepping down in July after a six-year term as head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, wrote on Twitter that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had nominated Espinosa to succeed her.

The Bonn-based Secretariat said the appointment needs to be approved by an 11-member U.N. bureau, whose members represent groups of governments worldwide and is now led by French Environment Minister Segolene Royal.

The bureau has no record of challenging nominations by the Secretary-General, diplomats say, even though some had expected that the job would shift from Latin America.

Espinosa, aged 57 and who works as Mexico’s ambassador to Germany, won high marks for presiding at annual U.N. climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010 when she was foreign minister.

Delegates gave her a standing ovation after she brokered a deal to get negotiations on limiting global warming back on track after the failure of a fractious 2009 summit in Copenhagen.

Those 195-nation talks culminated in December 2015 with a deal at a Paris summit to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2100, shifting to cleaner energies such as wind and solar power.

The job of the new U.N. climate chief will be to oversee and strengthen that agreement.

The United Nations says the Paris deal, built from voluntary national limits on greenhouse gas emissions, is too weak to achieve a goal of limiting a rise in temperatures blamed for stoking more droughts, floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.