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Mathias Cormann chosen as OECD head despite climate concerns

PARIS (AP) — The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said Monday that it has appointed a former Australian finance minister, Mathias Cormann, as its head.

The appointment of Cormann as the OECD’s new secretary general comes despite objections over his climate record.

Cormann, who will begin a five-year term on June 1 at the Paris-based organization, has faced criticism for opposing climate change initiatives in Australia.

Cormann has voted against declaring a climate emergency, told climate striking youth to “stick to school,” and consistently failed to take action in cutting emissions.

Many climate groups have railed against his candidacy, including Greenpeace, which called it a “missed opportunity.”

As the first secretary general from the Asia-Pacific region, Cormann said that under his leadership, the OECD would work to promote “stronger, cleaner, fairer economic growth and to raise employment and living standards” as the world seeks to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

He also said he would work to “promote global leadership on ambitious and effective action on climate change to achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Cormann, 50, was born in Belgium but settled in Australia in the 1990s as a young man. He became Australia’s longest-serving finance minister, a job he held from 2013 to 2020.

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