climate change

John Kerry: Rich countries must up their game on climate

US Climate Envoy John Kerry pictured in Oslo, Norway earlier this month. Photo credit: Reuters / Gwladys Fouche.

By Anders Lorenzen

John Kerry, US Special Envoy on Climate Change, has warned that rich countries must do more to tackle the climate crisis in order to keep alive the goal of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.

Kerry made the remarks in an interview with Reuters news agency ahead of the COP27 climate summit to be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November this year.

The maths doesn’t lie, in order to have a chance of keeping temperature increases below the 1.5 degrees C threshold, the world’s 20 richest countries must stay committed to this target at the COP27 meeting.

Slow progress

“Those 20 countries account for 80% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If those countries move, we solve the problem,” Kerry remarked. He explained the progress has been slow but that he was encouraged about  activity in the ‘solutions’ space, adding: “There’s a lot happening, many people pursuing new technologies or many people investing.”

Talking about the momentum  needed to solve the challenge, the former Secretary of State said: “We need to be working faster at the government level to be organising ourselves so that there are more bankable deals so that there is a place for money to invest, and that takes some coordination between government and the private sector.”

He also expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the war in Ukraine, have taken the focus away from the efforts to cut emissions to combat the climate crisis. Referring to Putin and the war in Ukraine he reminded everyone of the many benefits of being energy independent from fossil fuels: “it underscores the imperative of being energy independent and for not being a hostage to gas, a fossil fuel held by somebody who is ready to weaponise that fuel.” 

During COP26 held in Glasgow last year scientists, negotiators and climate advocates were very concerned about how slow the progress was with the 1.5 degrees C target and are surely still feeling like we’re living on borrowed time. 

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