Janos Pasztor | Carbon Brief
Janos Pasztor was appointed Ban Ki-moon's assistant
secretary-general on climate change in January 2015. He
will serve as the UN secretary-general's senior advisor on climate
change until the climate conference in Paris in December.
Previously, he was director of policy and science at WWF
International in Switzerland. From 2011 to 2012, he served as the
executive secretary of the UN secretary-general's high-level panel
on global sustainability.
Pasztor on how much time Ban Ki-moon is dedicating to
climate change: "There is not another subject that he spends as
much time on as climate change."
On the importance of tackling climate change: "If we don't fix
climate change, all the development advances that we have achieved
will go backwards again."
On the role of Ban Ki-moon: "[His] role...in all this
is to keep reminding ourselves of what the science tells us and
what the science tells us where we need to be and where we are
On the importance of climate finance: "We need a lot
of trust in this negotiation process. To have a finance package be
resolved...this would be very helpful for the overall negotiation
On whether the world could tackle climate change
without the UN: "Change...is not happening fast enough...We need a
global agreement that clarifies the direction in which we are going
and, therefore, accelerates the whole process. Who else can do this
other than the UN?"
On whether the 1.5C target is still politically
possible? "It is possible. The feasibility is more difficult, let's
On the need for a ratchet mechanism in the Paris deal:
"We have to be sure that in the agreement there is a good system of
monitoring and review...ratchet up the ambition over time,
correcting and adjusting as needs be, to make sure that we can move
off the 4-5C pathway."
On the need for a long-term goal in the Paris deal:
"The long-term goal also has to address adaptation and address the
financing of developing countries."
CB: What proportion of Ban Ki-moon's working
week is he dedicating to climate change?
JP: Wow, it's a lot! He has consistently, since his
first term, been very much focused on climate change. It's hard to
say how many hours. We don't count the hours when your secretary
general; the days and the weeks and so on. But I can tell you that
I don't think there is another subject that he has to deal with -
and there are many - there is not another subject that he spends as
much time on as climate change.
CB: And at what point did it become this
intense? At the summit last September in New York? Has this been a
dominant theme for the last two years? Or was it particularly
JP: No, no. It goes back to his first term. He's been
there now for eight years. And his interests and his engagement in
climate change was from the very beginning, shortly after he became
secretary-general. And the first major event where he was in action
was at the Bali conference and this was in 2007. That's where he
he spoke very engagingly and then he left and the
negotiations were not going well so he came back and got the people
together and said, "You've got to agree on something". That's how
the Bali agreement was finalised. That was his first real
interaction and after that he formulated a strategy that he really
needs to deal with this particular issue as it was so important to
everything that the United Nations does. If we don't fix climate
change, all the development advances that we have achieved will go
backwards again: the impact on poverty and food security, and all
the things of the UN stands for. So he recognised it quite
early and he said this is something I have to focus on. Then he
went on and has been focused on this ever since. It's not just this
year or last year. It's a long-term, eight-year project.