The most important person at the Paris climate talks is a woman from tiny Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica (Dic, 8, 2015) – Christiana Figueres’ mandate is no small task: Persuade world leaders to make drastic cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions and avoid catastrophic global warming. Figueres, the United Nations climate chief, plays a pivotal role in bringing diplomats, business executives and community groups to the negotiating table — all with the aim of reaching a global agreement to fight climate change.

As the ongoing U.N. climate talks in Paris, Figueres, 59, is facing one of the most critical moments in her career.

Figueres brings to her position a firecracker personality, one that stands in stark contrast to the drab conference rooms and stuffy political language that define many of her frequent meetings. At five feet tall, with closely cropped hair and dressed in brightly colored blazers, she speaks with a tireless energy and animated hands, and she’s prone to well up with tears as she describes the threat the climate change poses to humanity.

United Nations Framework Convention on C

AFP PHOTO/Peter PARKS

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