U.N. climate official clarifies remarks about near-term summit
Monday, U.N. climate chief Yvo de Boer sounded an awful lot like he was making a major announcement about a newly planned international summit on climate change. As the Financial Times reported, the U.N.’s top climate official said a meeting was necessary to lay groundwork before the international climate conference in Copenhagen this December. De Boer’s remarks indicated that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon felt the same way and was looking to call a summit in February or March.
But the secretary-general’s office was mum on the matter when contacted by Grist yesterday. Today, de Boer’s office confirmed that nothing is planned as of yet.
“The Secretary General is planning to organize a High Level Event with Heads of State and Government for all Members States in the margins of the General Assembly in September,” John Hay, a spokesperson for de Boer, wrote in an e-mail. “He is also exploring other avenues to galvanize Heads of State and Government and support high level political engagement throughout the next 11 months. No specifics, however, are confirmed at this time.”
The possibility of 30 to 40 heads of state meeting as early as February or March was a “personal hope” on de Boer’s part, not a concrete plan, Hay said. One of the newest heads of state, President Barack Obama, is likely to have a big say in the timing.
“Obviously, this is designed to get the U.S. back in play,” said John Anthony, communications director for climate and energy for the United Nations Foundation. “[But] just look at what’s happening domestically. It’s a real crowded calendar on many fronts.”
Reuters has more on what de Boer wants to accomplish before Copenhagen.