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Feb 18, 2010

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer to quit in July

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer said on Thursday he will step down in July to join a consultancy group, two months after a Copenhagen summit failed to support a legally binding climate pact.

His departure is unlikely to dent further U.N.-led climate talks meant to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, stalled over sharing the cost of cutting carbon emissions. [ID:nLDE61918P]

The Dutch former environment official will join KPMG [KPMG.UL], the Secretariat for the U.N. framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) said. De Boer has led the agency since 2006 and his contract was expected to be renewed in September.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but I believe the time is ripe for me to take on a new challenge, working on climate and sustainability with the private sector and academia,” de Boer said in a statement.

“Copenhagen did not provide us with a clear agreement in legal terms, but the political commitment and sense of direction toward a low-emissions world are overwhelming,” he added.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon would consult and decide on a replacement, a U.N. spokesman said.

The Copenhagen meeting missed de Boer’s own benchmarks for success, neither specifying exact emissions limits for developed nations nor a time frame to agree a new pact, but was applauded for harnessing pledges from both rich and poor countries.

“It wasn’t that surprising … I would like to see someone from a developing country who can negotiate with those countries,” said Seb Walhain, head of environmental markets at Fortis Netherlands, of de Boer’s departure.

Carbon markets depend on the U.N. talks to find a Kyoto successor from 2013, to continue a global trade in offsets. “It won’t have any effect on the carbon market,” said Walhain.


U.N. rules require consensus among all 194 countries, partly hampering climate talks and leading some analysts to call for a new approach, for example through G20 world leaders.

“We must quickly find a suitable successor who can oversee the negotiations and reform the UNFCCC to ensure it is up to the massive task of dealing with what are some of the most complex negotiations ever,” said British energy and climate minister Ed Miliband.

“He’s been a really important guardian and leader on climate change,” said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF environmental group’s global climate initiative.

De Boer, born in 1954, has been far more outspoken than previous heads of the Bonn-based Secretariat. He had often criticised developed nations for what he called a lack of ambition in setting out cuts in greenhouse gases by 2020.

But he also told developing nations not to get their hopes up too high. In the run-up to Copenhagen, he told African nations and small island states that their calls for deep emissions cuts by the developed world was “too heavy a lift”.

At a marathon U.N. meeting in Bali in 2007, de Boer left the room in tears after a Chinese delegate criticised the Secretariat for starting a meeting before all delegates were present.

De Boer was known for his quips — he compared his own large ears to those of Dr. Spock in the television series “Star Trek”. And he compared the drawn-out process at the Copenhagen summit to cooking a Christmas turkey or baking a cake.

(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo and Nina Chestney in London; editing by Janet Lawrence)

Feb 15, 2010

UN panel approves 32 China wind farms, blocks six

LONDON (Reuters) – A United Nations climate panel approved 32 Chinese wind farms for carbon financing under the Kyoto Protocol late last week, but blocked another six after rejecting eight similar projects in December.

The approved wind farms will cut greenhouse gas emissions by some 11.3 million metric tones by the end of 2012, the year the current Kyoto pact expires, according to UN data.

Feb 11, 2010

Is carbon offsetter Camco a takeover target?

LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) – British-based carbon offset
aggregator Camco International Ltd <CAMIN.L> could be the last
public listed company of its kind if a takeover bid for Swedish
peer Tricorona <TRIC.ST> succeeds.
Energy and environmental technology group Opcon AB <OPCO.ST>
on Wednesday offered to buy Tricorona in an all-share deal
valuing the clean energy project developer at just over 1
billion Swedish crowns ($137 million).

If the deal completes, Camco will be the lone survivor of
consolidation in the sector that started last year and include
investment bank JP Morgan’s <JPM.N> purchase of EcoSecurities
<ECO.L> and a proposed merger between Trading Emissions <TREM.L>
and Leaf Clean Energy <LEAF.L>.

Feb 1, 2010

Spot trade in EU carbon permits drops 66 percent yr/yr

LONDON (Reuters) – Spot volumes in exchange-traded European Union carbon permits were down 66 percent in January compared to a year ago, when analysts said industrial polluters dumped extra credits and rumors swirled about trading fraud.

Trade in spot EU carbon permits (EUAs) across the five major European emissions exchanges was 44.6 million tonnes last month, down from 130.1 million in January 2009, data showed.

Jan 22, 2010

Climate bill setback forces clean development rethink

LONDON (Reuters) – Still reeling from disappointing UN climate talks in Copenhagen in December, clean energy project developers were dealt another blow this week when U.S. Democrats lost their Senate supermajority, potentially killing a federal cap-and-trade scheme for years to come.

Although the passage of a U.S. bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 was far from certain, the election of a Republican in Massachusetts to the Senate on Tuesday derailed any momentum President Obama had following his healthcare push toward introducing a cap-and-trade scheme this year.

Jan 18, 2010

Cash-healthy Camco faces carbon offset shortfall

LONDON (Reuters) – UK-based carbon offset aggregator Camco International Ltd grew its cash balance to 28 million euros ($40.3 million), the firm said in a trading update on Monday, but faces a steep climb to reach its 2012 offset inventory goal.

Camco received 14.4 million euros in cash proceeds for 4.6 million tonnes of Kyoto Protocol offsets, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), in two deals signed in December.

Dec 24, 2009

Copenhagen blame game not helpful: U.N. climate chief

LONDON (Reuters) – Countries should stop blaming each other for the weak outcome of the Copenhagen climate talks and sit down together to move the process forward, the U.N.’s top climate change official said on Wednesday.

It is still possible to reach a legally binding global treaty, and bickering among countries like China and Britain is unproductive, Yvo de Boer, the head of the UN’s climate change secretariat, told Reuters.

Dec 19, 2009

Investors give cautious thumbs up to climate deal

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Businesses and investment analysts cautiously welcomed a climate deal struck in Copenhagen on Friday, but complained that it was unclear how its commitments would be translated into law.

The private sector is expected to supply most capital to drive a global shift to a greener economy away from burning fossil fuels.

Dec 19, 2009

Canada says must go in tandem with U.S. on climate

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Prime Minister Stephen Harper brushed off criticism on Friday that Canada would act on climate change only in parallel with the United States, saying this was crucial because of North America’s economic integration.

“If the Americans don’t act, it will severely limit our ability to act, but if the Americans do act, it is absolutely essential that we act in concert with them,” he said.

Dec 18, 2009

House Republicans warn Obama on climate steps

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama labored behind closed doors to break a deadlock over efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Republicans from the U.S. Congress were outside those meetings urging him not to bother.

“We’re not going to let jobs be destroyed in America for some esoteric environmental benefit 100 years from now,” U.S. House of Representatives member Joe Barton told Reuters on the sidelines of the U.N. conference on climate change.

    • About Michael

      "Michael Szabo is an environmental markets correspondent based in London, UK. His focus is on carbon emissions trading, but also looks at renewable energy and climate change policy and science. He also manages the Global Carbon Forum."
      Joined Reuters:
      June 2005
      English, French
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