US Climate Envoy John Kerry called on China to join the US in urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and described the international alliances that have rebuilt Europe after the Second World war as a model for combating climate change.
LONDON – US Climate Commissioner John Kerry called on China to join the US in urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and described the international alliances that have rebuilt Europe after World War II as a model for combating climate change.
Kerry challenged world leaders to accelerate the actions needed to curb rising temperatures and lift the world from the brink. “Allies, partners, competitors and even adversaries” must work together, he said during a speech at Kew Gardens in London, a UNESCO World Heritage site where scientists work to protect plants of global warming.
“The climate crisis is the test of our time, and while it may unfold in slow motion, for some this test is as acute and existential as any previous one,” Kerry said. “Hurry up.”
Kerry called the next decade decisive, saying countries around the world must step up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if they are to meet their pledge to limit temperature increases to no more than 1.5. degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
While many countries have pledged to phase out net carbon emissions by 2050, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says emissions must be reduced by at least 40% by the end of the decade to control temperatures.
Organizers of the upcoming United Nations climate summit are calling the event later this year in Glasgow, Scotland, “the world’s last best chance to bring climate change out of control.” The main goal of the meeting, known as COP26, is for countries to set themselves “ambitious” targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
To meet these goals, countries must phase out the use of coal, reduce deforestation, accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewable energy, according to conference organizers.
China, the United States and India are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, which means efforts to control climate change are likely to fail unless all three lead the way. reduction of emissions.
Kerry spoke of the often strained relationship between the United States and China, but said the future hinged on their cooperation. The two countries must also raise their ambitions, he said.
“It’s no mystery that China and the United States have many differences. But on the climate, cooperation is the only way to break free from the current mutual suicide pact in the world, ” he said. “Both President Biden and President Xi have made it clear that each will cooperate on climate despite other substantial differences. America needs China to succeed in reducing its emissions. China needs America to do the same. ”
Antony Froggatt, energy policy consultant at Chatham House think tank in London, applauded Kerry’s speech for highlighting the urgent need for action.
“One of the world’s top climate change officials accepts that climate change is here, that it is real, that it is having an impact, and that its future impact will be tantamount to some kind of global war … and so we have to do it now, ”said Froggatt. “It’s not just America, it’s not just the EU. This is India. It’s China. It is these large emitters who really need to act in the short term and demonstrate that they are changing emissions levels. “