Mexican ambassador Patricia Espinosa selected as next UN climate chief

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The UN has selected Patricia Espinosa as the next head of its climate change body.

A former foreign minister, and currently Mexico’s ambassador to Germany, Espinosa made her mark in climate circles when she took the helm at the UN talks in 2010, a year after the process was nearly derailed in Copenhagen.

Mexico’s ambassador to Germany will take over from Christiana Figures of Costa Rica when she leaves on 6 July, after two terms leading the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Figueres broke the news – which is subject to approval by the Bureau – on twitter on Tuesday morning.

Espinosa is known in climate circles for taking over the presidency of talks in 2010, after the Copenhagen summit collapsed.

Now that a UN climate deal has been agreed, her role will be to negotiate the rulebook and put it into action, together with governments.

Espinosa’s appointment comes at a crucial time in the climate saga as the focus shifts from setting goals to carrying them out, analysts said.

Speaking to the Guardian Alden Meyer of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists said “It is a different role now that you have the [Paris] agreement in place.”

“There is a lot more nitty-gritty implementation to be done,” he said before Ban’s choice was known.

The position has been elevated to the status of under secretary general, and comes with a salary in the neighbourhood of $200,000 (€173,000).

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Photo Credit: IAEA Imagebank from Flickr

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