December 7, 2009

WORLD: Climate czar Yvo De Boer is no 'crying Dutchman'

. ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands / NRC Handelsblad International / December 7, 2009 Dutchman Yvo de Boer has headed the UN's climate bureau since 2006, and the Copenhagen conference is the culmination of his efforts. Insiders say De Boer feels passionately about the issues, but getting a climate change agreement is an intellectual challenge first and foremost. Yvo de Boer. Photo Reuters By Paul Luttikhuis When Yvo de Boer applied for the job of executive secretary of the UN's climate bureau, there was little chance he would get the job. His predecessor, Joke Waller-Hunter, who had unexpectedly died, was from the Netherlands too. It is very unusual for the UN to give a top job to the same country twice in a row, and anyway, it was a developing country's turn. But de Boer was simply the best candidate, even after an extra selection round was held. The climate bureau was created to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the official name for the treaty that came out of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. It in charge of collecting data on greenhouse gas emissions from all the countries that are party to the treaty. It is also in charge of organising climate conferences, such as the one that started in Copenhagen on Monday. For that reason De Boer has been known to refer to himself as a "butler". Loftier purpose It is false modesty. Already during his job interview, De Boer told then UN secretary-general Kofi Anan he wasn't interested in the usual job description, which he summed up as "keep your mouth shut and make things work". If that's the job, I'm not your man, he told Annan. The climate bureau had to serve a loftier purpose, De Boer said, and as far as he's concerned there can be no mistake about the purpose: to stop global warming. ....De Boer is no 'feelgood ambassador' for climate change. He tells how it is. "Persevering, focused and concentrated," in the words of Henriƫtte Bersee, who worked with De Boer during COP10 in Buenos Aires in 2004. "He is sharp and he will get what he wants this way or another," says Bert Metz. Countries that have been admonished by De Boer know what he is talking about. [rc] Read the complete report by clicking here Source: NRC International