Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yvo de Boer the head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change announced last Friday that he is resigning. His last day will be July 1st. This will be five months before the next big climate change conference in Mexico so giving a successor time to settle in to the role. Whether you believe he has been a success or whether Copenhagen shows him to have been a failure he has had a big influence on the negotiations and has helped put climate change in the spotlight. This means that who his ultimately becomes his successor is likely to have an impact on the negotiations, but for good or ill?

Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yes because... No because...

De Boer knew everything that is going on.

Having been on the job for four years Yvo de Boer has a grip on what are very complex negotiations. Anyone new to the job would not have the experience with what has gone before no matter how well briefed they might be. This would mean that the major players would for a time be able to run rings around a new leader reducing any chance of a deal being made in the short term.

Yvo de Boer did not always seem to know everything that was going on during the Copenhagen conference. The negotiations are so immense and between so many parties that no one can ever know everything that is going on.

Ivo de Boer is not aware of the current state of the earth system science.

Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yes because... No because...

A reliable pair of hands’

According to Mark Lynas who advised the President of the Maldives during the UN negotiations “It is quite bad news he is quitting at this point because the world is in desperate need for a reliable pair of hands to get through this dark period where climate change negotiations are under assault from anti-science deniers, by the Climategate furor and by the US Senate.”

Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yes because... No because...

Need someone new to break through the obstacles after Copenhagen.

Having someone new at the helm does not mean that there are going to be new ideas or a better way of doing things to begin to create momentum again.

After a failure new faces with new ideas about how to get the negotiations done are needed. It is obvious that the negotiations stalled at Copenhagen if they did not go backwards. This means that new ideas are needed in order to get everyone on board, someone new is needed to come in and create a new momentum leading up to something. De Boer’s momentum had been leading up to the Copenhagen conference but this has now been lost.

Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yes because... No because...

De Boer’s chance has come and gone.

Yvo’s big chance was at the Copenhagen conference, even if there are to be more COP’s after this – which there will be – they will not be so big, so hyped or so closely watched by the world. The Copenhagen Conference was the peak that is unlikely to be returned to for a while. This means it makes sense for Yvo de Boer to go, It is a pretty natural that he should leave now. Stay much longer and he would feel he has to stay at least another year to get through COP16 and whatever aftermath it might have. If during this time he did not want to continue for much longer he would not be up to his best so it would be better to get someone new with the drive to get through the next few COP meetings.

Will Yvo de Boer’s resignation reduce the chance of getting a good climate deal this year?

Yes because... No because...

There has been a change in what is needed.

Yvo de Boer did very well during is tenure at pushing climate change up the global agenda, this was what was needed. The second thing he managed was getting the developed countries and the USA to the table, without both of them negotiations would never get anywhere. However things have changed, all parties are at the table but someone is needed to work out a deal that all parties will accept. Someone who can push negotiations and make sure there is some kind of deal between China and the USA. As someone who has stuck closely to the idea that there needs to be equality between nations with all countries agreeing Yvo de Boer is not the best person to do this because what is needed is an agreement between the two greenhouse gas superpowers before anyone else signs up.

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