Christiana Figueres | Carbon Brief
Christiana Figueres has been the executive secretary
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) since July 2010 and was reappointed for a
second three-year term in July 2013. Before then, she was a member
of the Costa Rican negotiating team at the UNFCCC from 1995-2009.
In 1995, she founded the non-profit Center for Sustainable
Development of the Americas, based in Washington DC.
On defining success at the Paris climate conference
this coming December: "If financial support for developing
countries to be able to follow that path [to bring their population
out of poverty but to do so in a low-carbon, high-resilient way] is
made evident, then I think we have success."
The political possibility of limiting the global
average temperature rise to 1.5C: "I don't know that it is possible
to say right now are we going to end up with 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8,
1.9C? But it's got to be within that range. There is no doubt that
it has to be below 2C."
The legal form of the Paris agreement: "I don't think
that the whole agreement is actually going to have the same legal
nature [as the Kyoto protocol], but rather there will be several
components, key components, that will have different legal
Whether the world could tackle climate change without
the UNFCCC: "This has to be done in a way that protects the most
vulnerable. That would not occur without the UNFCCC."
How the IPCC can best complement the UNFCCC: "There
has been a very clear intent to be more and more guided by science.
And you see it in all of the negotiations now that there is much
more direct dialogue, in fact, even between the delegates and the
scientists, which is a very welcome development."
The usefulness of the IPCC's carbon budgets to the
UNFCCC: "I think [they have] brought a sense of realism and a sense
of urgency into this discussion."
The challenge and reviewing and aggregating
the INDCs [intended nationally determined contributions]:
"What we have here is a fruit salad. We have apples, we have pears
and we, in fact, even have bananas."
The importance of the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) and the UNFCCC: "If we do not address climate change in a
timely fashion, we will wipe out all the development gains that
have been made in the past 15-20 years. We will wipe that out."
The challenge for the UN of managing these parallel,
inter-related processes: "When I first saw it I thought how is this
going to be possible, and it is very, very difficult, but...we will
remember 2015 as being a very important year in the history of the
design of mankind."
On reports that the French will present their own text
for a climate deal, if progress at the UNFCCC is slow: "They are
not going to come with their own text. This is not a Copenhagen