Special Climate Envoy John Kerry: Action Needed to Avoid Global ‘Suicide Pact’
By PENNY STARR
President Joe Biden’s special enjoy for climate change John Kerry said in an interview Thursday during his recent trip to India that immediate action is required to stem the effects of climate change and avoid a “mutual suicide pact across the planet.”
Kerry — whose flight carbon footprint has not been made public — is traveling thousands of miles to speak with leaders in India, Bangladesh, and the United Arab Emirates about fighting so-called manmade climate change.
The Washington Post reported on Kerry’s remarks as he travels abroad during the global coronavirus pandemic “to make a profound push to combat climate change in the months and years ahead, and it needs all the partners it can get.”
The Post reported that Kerry delivered his message with “humility for four years that have been wasted,” referring to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord to avoid harming the U.S. economy, energy independence, and American jobs. Biden reversed Trump’s America First policy as quickly as he could.
The Post report said:
Kerry said that as the dangers posed by climate change become more clear, the urgency of the problem means that countries must work together to confront it, or else face a “mutual suicide pact across the planet.”
The problem remains solvable, but it “depends entirely on the political will,” and the United States under Biden plans to lead by example, he said. Exactly what that example might look like will take shape later this month, when Biden convenes dozens of world leaders for a virtual Earth Day summit. He is expected to introduce a new, more ambitious plan to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030 — probably in the neighborhood of 50 percent compared to 2005 levels.
Whether that goal becomes a reality will depend at least in part on what initiatives Congress is willing to fund and what policies future administrations pursue. Still, the moment is aimed at reestablishing American leadership in the fight to limit the Earth’s warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels — a threshold beyond which scientists predict irreversible environmental damage.
The Post praised the Biden Administration for its effort to “compel other large-emitting countries to increase their efforts and cement enhanced national pledges.”
Kerry said he wants to accomplish these goals ahead of the United Nations’ climate event in Scotland in the fall.
The Post noted that India is reporting record numbers of coronavirus cases but Kerry spent three days there to advance Biden’s climate change agenda.
And the newspaper, which almost daily criticized Trump in its reporting, defended the need for Kerry to meet leaders in person rather than virtually — which Americans have been forced to do for more than a year.
Kerry said in the interview it creates “greater ease in the give and take,” and you can “whisper in their ear” something “you don’t want other people necessarily to hear.”
Kerry claimed India doesn’t use coal as an energy source because it likes it and would “leap” at the chance to use so-called alternative energy if they have the financing.
But according to National Geographic progress is slow:
The report’s analysis of the 184 pledges for 2030 found that almost 75 percent were insufficient. In fact, the world’s first and fourth biggest emitters, China and India, will have higher emissions in 2030. The U.S. is the second largest and its pledge is too low. It’s also in doubt, given the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the accord. Russia, the fifth largest emitter, hasn’t even bothered to make a pledge.
“Kerry met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week and praised his determination to move India in the right direction,” the Post reported.
“He’s deeply invested in this,” Kerry said in the interview.