France bars Tubiana bid for UN climate body

Respected envoy’s move to head Bonn-based outfit apparently quashed ‘last minute’ by environment minister Segolene Royal 

Laurence Tubiana, COP 21/CMP 11 Presidency; UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; COP 21/CMP 11 President Laurent Fabius, Foreign Minister, France; and President François Hollande, France, celebrate the adoption of the Paris Agreement (credit: Worth)

(L-R) Laurence Tubiana, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; COP 21 President Laurent Fabius; and President François Hollande celebrate the adoption of the Paris Agreement (credit: IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth)

By Ed King

The French government has refused to allow its top climate diplomat to apply to take over as the UN’s chief climate official, Climate Home understands.

Two sources with knowledge of the matter said Laurence Tubiana – one of the key architects of the 2015 Paris deal – had submitted her application for the role ahead of a 28 March deadline.

But in a surprise move this week Tubiana’s bid to join the UN was blocked, with environment minister Segolene Royal believed to have quashed the move.

Report: Who’s in line to be the next UN climate change chief?

A French government source said no reasons had been offered for the refusal, and speculated the decision could have been as result of “personal” reasons.

According to a report in French newspaper Le Canard, France president Francois Holland had authorised the move before Royal’s “last moment” veto.

Tubiana is widely regarded as the brains behind the successful Paris Agreement, which saw 195 countries agree to limit global warming to well below 2C on pre-industrial levels. In January, the French government appointed her “climate champion”.

Interview: France plans renewed climate diplomacy blitz to protect Paris deal says Tubiana

In March, former France foreign minister Laurent Fabius ceded his role as UN talks president to Royal after moving jobs to take charge of the country’s supreme court.

With Tubiana out of the field, Ban Ki-moon’s climate advisor Janos Pasztor is considered a favourite to replace Christiana Figueres as UN climate chief when she leaves in July.

Climate Home has contacted the office of Segolene Royal for comment.

Read more on: COP21 | EU |