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Former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Nominated as UN Climate Chief

Photo of Patricia Espinosa when she was still Mexico's Foreign Minister speaking during a news conference.
File Photo: Photo of Patricia Espinosa when she was still Mexico's Foreign Minister speaking during a news conference at the 41st General Assembly of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in San Salvador June 6, 2011. LUIS GALDAMEZ / Reuters

Former Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa has been nominated to be the new U.N. climate chief, which bolsters a 2015 Paris Agreement to shift the world economy away from fossil fuels.

Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican who is stepping down in July after a six-year term as head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, wrote in a Tweet that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had nominated Espinosa to succeed her.

The Bonn-based Secretariat said the appointment needs to be approved by an 11-member U.N. bureau, whose members represent groups of governments worldwide and is now led by French Environment Minister Segolene Royal.

Espinosa, 57, works as Mexico's ambassador to Germany. She has won high marks for presiding at annual U.N. climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, in 2010 when she was foreign minister.

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Delegates gave her a standing ovation after she brokered a deal to get negotiations on limiting global warming back on track after the failure of a fractious 2009 summit in Copenhagen.

Those 195-nation talks culminated in December 2015 with a deal at a Paris summit to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2100, shifting to cleaner energies such as wind and solar power.

The United Nations says the Paris deal, built from voluntary national limits on greenhouse gas emissions, is too weak to achieve a goal of limiting a rise in temperatures blamed for stoking more droughts, floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.

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