Grenada’s environment minister to be next UN climate chief ahead of COP27
The UN’s new climate chief – Simon Stiell – faces the challenge of getting countries back on track to meet the Paris Agreement goals at a time when a global energy crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine slows progress made so far.
On Monday, Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Simon Stiell as the UN’s climate chief, calling him a “true champion” of creative approaches to the climate crisis.
A longtime advocate for climate action, Stiell served as minister of environment and climate resilience for the Caribbean island nation of Grenada for the past five years. Prior to that, the UK-trained engineer with an MBA was Minister for Education and Human Resource Development, Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Environment and Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries.
He brings more than three decades of experience in the climate field and has repeatedly distinguished himself by his relentless calls for more progress in the fight against climate change at previous COP summits.
“His experience as a politician in Grenada will no doubt have given him a deep appreciation of the enormous and growing risks that climate change poses to developing countries.” – said Bob Ward, director of policy at the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics, after Stiell’s appointment on Monday. “He must be tough on those countries, especially the G20, who are not living up to their responsibilities.” – he added.
The new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is expected to take office shortly, replacing Patricia Espinosa who has just completed her second three-year term, and suggesting that he would be in office for the November UN climate conference, COP27, in Egypt.
Stiell will be tasked with getting countries back on track to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Since last year’s COP26 commitments to reduce emissions in line with the 1.5°C temperature rise limit, the world has faced growing geopolitical tensions and a energy crisis. In addition, the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, including this summer’s extreme weather events, which have floodsrecord wildfires and droughts and thus threatening food and the water supply worldwide.
“We must change course – now – and end our senseless and suicidal war on nature. We know what to do. And, increasingly, we have the tools to do so. But we still lack leadership and cooperation. – said António Guterres at the Stockholm+50 international meeting in June. The upcoming conference will be a tough test for global negotiators, as the latest IPCC climate report warned that “It’s now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
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