UN climate change chief getting frustrated with United States

by Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner  |  published on November 24, 2012

Christiana Figueres, who leads the United Nations negotiations to get governments to reduce carbon emissions in the world, regards Hurricane Sandy as “yet another wake-up call” for Americans to get on board with her climate change policy.

“Yes, I certainly do think that this is yet another wake-up call,” Figueres said of Hurricane Sandy to Yale Environment 360 in an interview published by The Guardian.”I did hear President Obama say quite categorically in his acceptance speech that he is not going to have a future that is threatened by increasing warming . . . I do think that this mirrors the growing awareness in the United States. So I do think that Sandy has contributed to this. Is it the tipping point? That remains to be seen.”

Figueres also spoke if international frustration with the United States for failing to sign onto UN global warming initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol.

“[I]f the United States does not strengthen its participation in the global climate regime under the newly re-elected president I think there will be increased frustration with the United States,” she said.

Job-killing policies such as cap-and-trade, which would limit and tax carbon emissions in the United States, died in 2010 due to the harm it would cause the economy. Figueres, though, portrayed adhering to the UN vision for fighting global warming as a way to stay economically competitive.

“Why would the United States allow other countries to pursue the technologies of the future while the United States stays with the technologies that are becoming every day more obsolete, hence losing its future competitiveness in an increasingly competitive world?” she asked. “I do think that there is going to be increasing pressure in particular from the private sector to catch up with the rest of the world, which is moving toward low-carbon technologies.”

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