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Head of UN climate change team calls it quits -

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SHANE MCLEOD: There's hope in environmental circles that the departure of the top UN official on
climate change could infuse new vigour into negotiations for a new global climate treaty.

Yvo de Boer headed up the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change but the former
Dutch public servant says he'll step down and move into the private sector.

The Federal Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong says his resignation is not necessarily a blow
to the ongoing climate change negotiations. She says the process is bigger than just one person, as
Nance Haxton reports from Adelaide.

NANCE HAXTON: Yvo de Boer was the public face of United Nations moves for binding agreements
between nations on climate change.

But those hopes fell over at Copenhagen and now the UN is faced with finding a replacement at a
time when climate change sceptics are taking increasing hold of the debate.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong says Mr de Boer should be congratulated for his
contribution to climate change debate.

PENNY WONG: Can I first wish Yvo well for his next phase in his career. I understand he's moving to
the private sector to continue to work on these issues, on sustainability issues. He's made a great
contribution, a very important contribution at a very important time and we wish him well.

As I said he's continuing to work in this area and the Government certainly appreciates the
contribution he's made.

NANCE HAXTON: Is it a sign though that the talks are really continuing to break down? Where are we
at with the talks?

PENNY WONG: Well can I say just on that, I understand that Yvo's contract was up this year in any
event. It's not unknown for people to move onto other jobs.

The negotiations are bigger than any one individual. They're negotiations about how the planet, how
the globe, how every country in the world is going to deal with climate change. They're proceeding.

We've got around 85 per cent of the world's economies signed up to the Copenhagen Accord. That's a
good thing. Obviously we need to do more and Australia is playing our part to get the best outcome
we can.

NANCE HAXTON: She says it's not her place to give an opinion on what qualities the new chief
negotiator should have and whether a new approach is needed post-Copenhagen.

PENNY WONG: I don't know that Tim or I want to get into the business of putting out job
descriptions to the United Nations Nance.

NANCE HAXTON: However the former Australian of the Year and the chair of the Coasts and Climate
Change Council Professor Tim Flannery says the resignation of Yvo de Boer from such a pivotal
position could reinvigorate climate change debate.

TIM FLANNERY: We wish him well. He's had a very, very difficult job over the last four years. I
think he's done a pretty good job overall and the Copenhagen Accord shows that.

We've got something like 80 countries now signed up to that. Todd Stern the UN special envoy on
climate change says we'll be at 100 countries within the next few weeks. So that's a really good

And then we go on to Mexico, COP (Conferences of the Parties)16, and we hope that we'll see a more
comprehensive agreement made there.

NANCE HAXTON: Could having a new chief negotiator give the talks new legs?

TIM FLANNERY: Look it'll be one element among many that we hope will move things on.

You know my personal view is I'd love to see one of the meetings held in Beijing or Washington you
know because then you'd get some serious buy-in. But we shall see how things progress.

SHANE MCLEOD: Professor Tim Flannery ending that report from Nance Haxton.