One thing you that’s clear about Christiana Figueres: She is a straight shooter.

Since the COP16 climate meetings began, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been careful about setting expectations. But it goes beyond just keeping things in perspective. Figueres is under no illusions that any agreements reached during the second week of COP16 will be grand.

Figueres has constantly provided updates about the progress, little as it may be, at COP16 and her latest one was perhaps her most direct. “This minimal agreement is going to be, frankly, pathetically insufficient compared to what the science tells us. We are just barely ... barely scratching the surface of what we need to do.”

While the executive secretary was strong in her account of the incremental progress being made at Cancun, she simultaneously explained that even a “pathetically insufficient” agreement is still nonetheless an agreement. “That does not diminish the importance of an agreement. Without this agreement, we will not be able to move forward for quite a few years.” Figueres made her comments at the World Climate Summit on Dec. 4. The WCS video of her remarks is posted below.

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.