By David Gaffen
(Reuters) – U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said on Monday that the crisis in Ukraine is going to be a “defining moment” for this century, saying the stakes “could not be higher,” even if the world has to live with higher energy costs for a time.
Kerry, the kickoff speaker at the annual CERAWEEK energy conference in Houston, called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “abhorrent,” and said the Ukrainian people are exposing Russia’s government for “all that it is.”
His remarks follow Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor, and as the United States and allies consider even more punishing sanctions against Russia, including outright bans on imports of Russian oil and gas. Russia accounts for 4 million to 5 million barrels of oil exports daily, making it the world’s second-largest oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia.
Kerry said the world will have to continue to invest in energy transition technologies, including hydrogen, carbon capture and renewables, but noted that the Biden administration is pursuing an “all-of-the-above” approach, which includes a greater role for nuclear power.
He did say, however, that it was not enough for companies to have a “net zero” goal for 2050, noting the detrimental effects of rising global temperatures are already evident.
“You already see what’s happening with global temperatures up 1.2 degrees (Celsius)… you’re already seeing climate refugees,” Kerry said.