Small nations given voice on climate

The United Nations has appointed a Costa Rican diplomat as its new climate change chief after small island nations intervened to press for a choice who would represent their concerns about the risks of global warming.

Christiana Figueres, a climate change expert, has been a negotiator for her country at international emissions reduction meetings since 1995, and regularly chairs UN meetings.

Ms Figueres only emerged as secretary general Ban Ki-moon's choice after a late intervention from small island nations put her ahead of a South African minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk.

South Africa argued against strict emission limits at the Copenhagen summit in December, after which the current UN climate chief, Yvo de Boer, said he would step down. Another major summit is due to be held in Mexico later this year.