UN climate chief says limiting global warming to 2C is “not impossible”

Christiana Figueres talks to chinadialogue ahead of the Doha UN climate summit about why the US is changing its mind on climate change

The UN’s chief climate negotiator Christiana Figueres says she believes public acceptance of the need to tackle climate change is growing in the US, after a summer of drought in the country.

Speaking to chinadialogue in London this week, Figueres said:
 "I would not be surprised if the drought in the United States this year opens up more political space for the United States…it was really a detonating factor in people in the United States citizens acknowledging the fact that there is climate change.

"The latest [reuters ] poll is that 70% of the US citizens really do understand that the climate is changing, that it is hurting them, and in addition, to hurting other people. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there is political space opening up here," she said.

Figueres also dismissed suggestions that it is now impossible to prevent two degrees of global warming.

"I think there are different opinions about whether ‘two degrees’ are out of reach or not. Professor Joseph Alcamo [chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)] says that the 2 degrees is still within reach even with the technology we have, so I don’t think this is a question of whether we have closed the door. The point is everybody needs to make their absolute best effort right now," she said.

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