The outspoken diplomat, who famously explained the Paris Agreement as a “path to failure”, will be remembered as a sophisticated determine who fought for justice

Paul Oquist, a US-born climate diplomat for Nicaragua, has died. Renowned for objecting to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Oquist nonetheless continued to interact with the UN process and served on the board of the Eco-friendly Weather Fund.

The president’s place of work claimed that Oquist died on Monday evening. Regional media noted the induce of demise was pulmonary embolism, a widespread complication of extreme Covid-19 infection – whilst no favourable diagnosis of the virus was manufactured.

“Paul Oquist Kelley served the people today, the family members, all Nicaraguans with love, faithfulness, dedication and untiring bravery,” president Daniel Ortega said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“[He was] a brother, a colleague and I consider just one of the most vital and popular people today in this region, a correct Nicaraguan, a lot more Nicaraguan than lots of who have been born in this country,” stated Gustavo Porras, speaker of Nicaragua’s nationwide assembly.

Local climate watchers have described him as a “fighter for justice” and a  “complex determine in worldwide climate negotiations”, with a sharp, analytical brain.

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Born in 1943 in California, Oquist attended university in the US right before moving to Nicaragua where he held a number of positions in Ortega’s federal government in the 1980s and when he returned to electric power in 2007.

In the weather place, Oquist built waves by refusing to back the adoption of the Paris Settlement, arguing the offer did not go much more than enough to slash international emissions and protect creating countries from local climate impacts.

“We’re not heading to post since voluntary duty is a route to failure,” Oquist told Climate Home at the time in a online video interview on the sidelines of the UN weather talks in Paris in 2015. 

“We never want to be an accomplice to taking the globe to 3 to 4C and the loss of life and destruction that signifies,” Oquist said. “It’s not a make a difference of getting troublemakers, it is a issue of the producing nations around the world surviving.” 

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Nicaragua, a place in central The united states described by the Earth Bank as a “renewable power paradise”, is a tiny emitter, generating just .02% of global emissions

Nicaragua eventually joined the Paris Settlement in 2017 in a go president Ortega mentioned was a exhibit of solidarity to countries influenced by local weather disasters. 

Following this transform of heart, Oquist was appointed co-chair of the multi-billion-dollar Inexperienced Local weather Fund (GCF) board in 2018. In this function his main duty was steering the board conferences, exactly where selections are attained by consensus.

On the GCF board, Oquist termed for stricter vetting of opportunity private sector companions. For example in 2019, he backed civil modern society considerations about a Chilean non-public fairness firm specialised in prosperity management and an Indian financial institution mired in economical instability. Equally entities were being accredited.

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Oquist was a close political advisor of president Ortega and his defence of the government’s crackdown on political opponents resulted in economical sanctions from the Trump administration

Next information of his demise, political leaders and local climate professionals compensated tribute to Oquist on social media. 

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro explained in a statement that Oquist was recognised for his “inexhaustible electricity, cheerful nature and determination to reveal and protect, internationally and in any placing, the truth of the matter.”

South African GCF board member Zaheer Fakir explained Oquist as a “fighter for justice and a steadfast and dedicated local weather warrior”.

Henning Wuester, director of the Initiative for Weather Motion Transparency, wrote on Twitter: “With Paul Oquist the global local weather method loses a very vivid and engaged temperament. He was complicated but extremely sharp and analytical – an vital voice to very carefully listen to. I will always bear in mind some of his statements of the early days of the GCF.”



Isabelle Gerretsen



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