U.N. Climate Chief: We’re ‘Intentionally’ Transforming The World Economy

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Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Chris­tiana Figueres, Exec­u­tive Sec­re­tary of the Unit­ed Nations Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change

This is the first time in the his­to­ry of mankind that we are set­ting our­selves the task of inten­tion­al­ly, with­in a defined peri­od of time to change the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment mod­el that has been reign­ing for at least 150 years…”

The Unit­ed Nation’s top cli­mate change offi­cial Chris­tiana Figueres announced this week that the group is active­ly work­ing to “inten­tion­al­ly trans­form” the world’s eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment mod­el, a task she called the “most dif­fi­cult” one the group has ever under­tak­en.

This is  prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult task we have ever giv­en our­selves, which is to inten­tion­al­ly trans­form the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment mod­el, for the first time in human his­to­ry,” UNFCCC Exec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Figueres stat­ed at a press con­fer­ence in Brus­sels Tues­day.

The “inten­tion­al” reorder­ing of the glob­al econ­o­my, she told reporters, “will not hap­pen overnight” due to the “depth of the trans­for­ma­tion”:

This is the first time in the his­to­ry of mankind that we are set­ting our­selves the task of inten­tion­al­ly, with­in a defined peri­od of time to change the eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment mod­el that has been reign­ing for at least 150 years, since the indus­tri­al rev­o­lu­tion. That will not hap­pen overnight and it will not hap­pen at a sin­gle con­fer­ence on cli­mate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 — you choose the num­ber. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the trans­for­ma­tion.”

Figueres is opti­mistic that a new inter­na­tion­al treaty, the so-called “Lima draft”—which she hopes will be adopt­ed at cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Paris at the end of the year—will be yet anoth­er step to the “trans­for­ma­tion” of the world’s eco­nom­ic mod­el. The new treaty, she point­ed out, was one of four parts of the process of eco­nom­ic reorder­ing. UNRIC reports:

In addi­tion to the treaty, there are the cur­rent Cli­mate Change actions from now and until 2020, the  financ­ing pack­ages and the so-called Intend­ed Nation­al Deter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions (IND­Cs).  These are the actions that coun­tries intend to take under a glob­al agree­ment from 2020 and have to be pub­licly out­lined before the start of the con­fer­ence. It is expect­ed that all major economies will deliv­er their plans in time: the US, Chi­na, and the Euro­pean Union have already shown their cards.

We need to get to the max­i­mum lev­el of ambi­tion of col­lec­tive IND­Cs because what we are going to have to do all of the time is to close the gap between what sci­ence tells us where we have to be and where we actu­al­ly are….” said Figueres. “But the point is will we be at the end des­ti­na­tion? I would argue, yes.”