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Grenadian is UN climate control chief

Regional 29 Aug, 2022 Follow News

Simon Stiell is passionate about climate control

Grenada’s former environment minister Simon Stiell is the new head of the United Nations climate change body (UNFCCC).

UN chief Antonio Guterres was responsible for the selection process and the UNFCCC bureau signed off his decision at a specially convened meeting.

Stiell is a veteran advocate for climate ambition from a vulnerable Caribbean island state. On the global stage, his calls for rapid reductions of emissions have put him at odds with big emerging economies like China, while his lobbying for climate finance has met resistance from rich countries like the United States and European Union.

Stiell studied engineering and business at London Metropolitan and Westminster universities in the UK, staying there to work for technology companies in the 90s before returning to Grenada and went into politics.

As environment minister, he dealt with tourist resort development and plastic waste domestically while advocating for small, vulnerable islands on the global stage. He has chaired the ‘High Ambition Coalition’, an alliance between rich countries like the EU and poorer, vulnerable ones like Grenada, to promote rapid emissions reductions. Stiell and Danish environment minister Dan Jørgensen are in charge of leading consultations on how countries can reduce their emissions faster this decade to keep 1.5C within reach.

These discussions led to countries agreeing to “revisit and strengthen” their 2030 climate plans by the end of 2022, although few have followed up on this promise.

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