Climate experts in dismay at choice of Mathias Cormann as OECD chief

The Guardian

Climate experts have expressed dismay at the choice of Mathias Cormann, a former finance minister in an Australian government with a record of strong hostility to climate action, as secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international institution that advises rich countries on policy and poor countries on how to become wealthier.

Jennifer Morgan, the executive director of Greenpeace International, said: “We have little confidence in Cormann’s ability to ensure the OECD is a leader in tackling the climate crisis, when he has an atrocious record on the issue. If the OECD is to fulfil its mandate, it must confront the climate emergency, arguably the biggest social justice issue of our time.”

The UK government was also sharply criticised for its role in backing Cormann’s election as it prepares to host UN climate talks in Glasgow this November.

Mohamed Adow, the director of the Power Shift Africa thinktank, said: “It’s terrible to see a politician with such a poor record on climate action getting the job of leading the OECD. What makes it worse is that apparently his appointment was backed by the UK, despite them [being] about to host the crucial Cop26 summit.”

Cormann opposed climate action on many occasions while a government minister between 2013 and 2020. He voted down motions to declare a climate emergency, called net zero targets “extremist”, “reckless” and “irresponsible”, spoke in favour of the coal industry and against wind energy, and was criticised for telling young climate strikers to “stick to school”.

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