UN selects former Grenada minister as climate chief

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Simon Stiell speaks at a news conference during the pre-COP26 climate meeting in Milan, Italy October 2, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Grenada's former Climate Resilience Minister Simon Stiell will become the new United Nations climate chief, UN Secretary General António Guterres announced on Monday.

Stiell will take over as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with under three months before the latest round of climate negotiations at COP27 in Egypt. He will replace Mexican diplomat Patricia Espinosa.

Stiell served for five years as Grenada's Minister for Climate Resilience and the Environment until June 2022 and previously served as Minister for Education and Human Resource Development.

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The UN called Stiell a "true champion for formulating creative approaches for our collective global response to the climate crisis" in a statement.

Stiell has been a prominent figure at UN climate negotiations, often calling for the world's largest polluters to set more ambitious climate goals and to deliver finance promised to vulnerable countries, including small island nations.

That funding is key to preparing for future climate impacts including extreme temperatures, rising sea levels, more frequent storms and drought.

Stiell told Reuters in an interview last year that the G20 group of the world's most powerful countries "generate 80% of global emissions and constitute 85% of global GDP. They have the wealth and technology to act."

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Reporting by Valerie Volcovici Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy

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