Friday, 19 February 2010

UN climate chief quits to join consultancy group

London, 18 February:
UN climate chief Yvo de Boer is to leave his post in July, two months ahead of his contract expiring, to join KPMG as an advisor on climate and sustainability.
It also comes two months after de Boer told a meeting of business leaders “I’d love to be your salesman”, at the international talks in Copenhagen.
He has been executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – the body overseeing international negotiations on climate change – since September 2006, having previously been deputy director general of the Dutch environment ministry.
When asked on 26 January if a new executive secretary would be appointed this year, a UNFCCC spokeswoman told Environmental Finance: “Yvo’s contract is through September of this year and, as far as I know, there is every expectation it will be continued.”
Accountants KPMG said de Boer will be advising business, governments and other organisations on sustainability issues. A KPMG spokesman said he would be based in Amsterdam and the role was not full time as “he will also work with universities and academia”.
Though now an international business, KPMG has its roots in Dutch accounting firm Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co. The consultancy has 350 people working in sustainability across at least 20 countries.
De Boer’s departure comes two months after a disappointing conclusion to the climate talks in Copenhagen. Two years previously, countries had set a goal of establishing a binding post-2012 treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Danish capital – an objective that they failed to achieve. However, some have argued that the meeting signalled a new era of cooperation between major emitters.
“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. This calls for new partnerships with the business sector and I now have the chance to help make this happen,” de Boer said.
He may have hinted at his next move during the Copenhagen talks, telling business executives at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development meeting on 11 December, in the context of their involvement in the talks, “I’d love to go out and be your salesman, but I need to know what I’m selling.”
Greenpeace hailed his leadership of the UNFCCC. In a statement, the environmental group said: “Yvo de Boer injected much-needed dynamism and straight-talking into the role of executive secretary to the UN Climate Convention. He has been a passionate and sometimes emotional advocate for a global deal to avert climate chaos, and has set the bar for what leading the UNFCCC is about.”
UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said: “Yvo de Boer's patient work helped produce the Copenhagen Accord which contains commitments covering 80% of global emissions, something never previously achieved.”
He added: “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.”