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UN Climate Chief : Climate Crisis An 'Economic Agenda'

The UN's top environmental official Friday stressed the climate change crisis as a key component of economic recovery that needs rebranding as an economic issue.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, called climate change "an economic agenda rather than a green agenda. It needs to be explained more clearly that this is about energy security and jobs going in a different direction.”

Pointing to President Obama’s economic recovery package, De Boer suggested that climate change might be hindering debate and thus the issue could be raised “more anonymously.”

De Boer made the comments in a CNBC interview at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting Friday in Davos, Switzerland.

The UN official addressed skeptics of climate change in the audience by noting that "120 heads of state of government decided to come to Copenhagen because they think climate is important.”

The recently completed UN climate conference in Copenhagen ended with broad policy agreement on reducing carbon emissions, but fewer-than-expected tangible goals.

De Boer acknowledged that one impediment to more progress in Copenhagen was that developing countries were “afraid that targets were being imposed on them, which would slow down their economic growth and the eradication of poverty."

Climate change was a relatively low-profile issue in Davos this year after being a centerpiece item in 2009.

In order reach a political consensus and a subsequent legal agreement, De Boer maintained the importance of rebuilding trust in the program and “making the case more clearly that this is actually about growth, not about slowing growth down.”

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