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UN Climate Chief To Step Down

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
(RFE/RL) -- The United Nations' climate chief, Yvo de Boer, is stepping down, after nearly four years in office.

Eric Hall, spokesman for the United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change (UNFCCC), told RFE/RL that de Boer's departure will take effect on July 1, and that de Boer "will be joining the consultancy group KPMG as the global adviser on climate and sustainability, as well as working with a number of universities."

The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

De Boer said in a statement that “the time is ripe for me to take on a new challenge.”

He said he will now work for the establishment of "new partnerships with the business sector" toward a low-emissions world. He said that while “governments provide the necessary policy framework, the real solutions must come from business.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to make the final decision on a replacement.

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, de Boer said his decision to step down was unrelated to the Copenhagen summit in December 2009, which ended with no agreement on binding targets on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But de Boer acknowledged frustration that the deal fell short of the consensus he had sought.

The conference has been aimed at agreeing the outline of a treaty that will succeed the world's current accord on fighting global warming, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which is due to expire in 2012.

De Boer said he was announcing his departure now so that a successor could be found before nearly 194 countries meet again in Cancun, Mexico, in November for another attempt to reach a global deal on climate change.

He told AP that he believed talks were "on track," although it was uncertain whether a full treaty could be finalized at the next high-level conference.