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South Africans seek U.N. climate post

By Juliet Eilperin

The South African government has nominated Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the man who helped lead their climate change strategy until the last election, as its candidate for the United Nations' top climate post.

Van Schalkwyk, who served as minister for environmental affairs and tourism in the past and is now the country's tourism minister, is widely credited with galvanizing support among major developing countries for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. He also challenged the Bush administration during a pivotal moment in the 2007 Bali talks, suggesting they needed to do more to address climate change.

Van Schalkwyk led South Africa's New National Party from 1997 to 2005.

The South African president's office announced Monday it has forwarded Van Schalkwyk's name as a candidate to direct the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Yvo de Boer, who now occupies the job, will step down July 1.

While de Boer comes from the Netherlands, it is likely his successor will be from the developing world. The fact that South Africa is likely to host the U.N. climate talks in 2011 could boost Van Schalkwyk's candidacy.


Juliet Eilperin

 |  March 8, 2010; 6:16 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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