This year's UN climate summit in Glasgow must begin a new era of climate action said John Kerry, who is the U.S. climate change envoy, on Tuesday. Kerry's remarks come as he travels to the European Union's headquarters in Brussels to re-establish trans-Atlantic climate relationships.
Kerry's trip to Europe is an important signal across the world that the United States is re-committing to aggressive climate action. After four years under the Trump Administration, Kerry's efforts are vital to U.S. climate policy. Kerry hopes to work with EU climate chief Frans Timmermans to re-vamp global climate action. Kerry and Timmermans will discuss foreign climate policy together during their meetings. Specifically, they hope to figure out how to convince other big polluters to pledge to take aggressive climate action before the November UN summit in Glasgow.
“Scientists tell us this decade, 2020 to 2030, must be the decade of action.”
Kerry explained. He also remarked:
“This is the moment. Glasgow is the last, best opportunity that we have and the best hope that the world will come together and build on [the] Paris [Climate Agreement].”
The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement was an important and monumental step for the world, symbolizing a globally united front in climate action. Indeed, all 195 countries signed the Agreement in 2015, and as of February 23, 2021, all but five ratified it (those five being Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Eritrea). Yet, most major polluters are not living up to the Agreement.
Kerry explains that the eight months before the summit (now) are “absolutely essential for all of us.” Yesterday, Kerry praised the United Kingdom for phasing out coal, but warned that it and other leaders would have to meet their promised emission targets. “China, the US, Russia, India, the EU, Korea, Japan and others all have to be part of this effort,” he said Monday. “Twenty countries. Eighty one percent of the emissions,” referring to statistic that the top twenty polluters make up 81% of global emissions.
The EU has been praised for increasing its pledge since the Paris Climate Agreement, with a new agreement in December to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. However, China announced a recent five-year plan that would see emissions rise. Officials and environmental groups around the world are looking forward to the United States's announcement next month, though they expect a target of at least a 50% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030.
Abnett, Kate. “This Must Be the 'Decade of Action' on Climate Change, John Kerry Says.” Reuters. Thomson Reuters, March 9, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-eu-usa-idUSKBN2B11XQ.
Harrabin, Roger. “Climate Change: Kerry Urges Top Polluters to Cut Emissions Now.” BBC News. BBC, March 8, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-56321456.