John Kerry: The Cop26 brings us closer than ever to climate chaos

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The world is now closer than ever to the target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 ° C, US climate envoy John Kerry said after the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow ended with a deal “Imperfect” but widely praised.

Kerry said: “We are actually closer than ever to averting climate chaos and ensuring cleaner air, safer water and a healthier planet. “

But he warned that the Cop26 was “not the finish line” and never would be. Nations would still have a lot of work to do on their emission reduction targets to ensure that the 1.5 ° C limit was sustainable.

Kerry said: “Thanks to the work here in Glasgow, the goals we are setting are much, much closer. And we will come even closer if we implement and follow [on the deal agreed] … As we leave Glasgow our code word will be implementation, monitoring and follow-up.

He said there had been “a very aggressive increase in ambition” from many countries, in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but there was still a long way to go.

He cited the International Energy Agency’s estimate that if all current long-term commitments were fully met, the world would limit heating to 1.8 ° C in the long term. But he stressed that there was a gap between those long-term ambitions and countries’ crucial short-term goals for 2030, which would result in a 2.4 ° C warming, and countries therefore needed to do more.

In Glasgow, nearly 200 countries agreed to pursue the goal of limiting temperatures to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, as outlined in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But they acknowledged that the commitments made at the fortnightly Cop26 were not up to the task and decided to return to the negotiating table next year.

Kerry said the United States would not need to revise its national target to cut emissions by 50% by 2030 because it was strong enough. He said other countries would be in a hurry to revise theirs, however, which portends tense negotiations over the coming year ahead of the next COP meeting in Egypt in November 2022.

He stressed that the United States had joined the High Ambition Coalition of developed and developing countries, which Donald Trump had left. He said the Glasgow deal showed the strength of the Paris deal.

“Paris built the arena, Glasgow started the race and tonight the shot was fired,” he said shortly after the deal was struck after 10pm.

Cop26’s tense final negotiations lasted more than 24 hours past their 6 p.m. deadline on Friday, ending late Saturday night after an end marathon session in which countries repeatedly formed “caucuses” in plenary to sort out the details of the wording they would agree to.

Kerry was at the heart of many of these caucuses, seen at various times in close conversation with her Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, Police Chairman Alok Sharma, EU Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans, and in consultation with many representatives of developing countries.

Kerry welcomed the constructive discussions with many countries. He said the United States supports developing countries’ demands for “loss and damage” – the destructive impacts of the climate crisis that are already being felt. However, he did not say how funds might be available in the future for such loss and damage.

The language of the final text on loss and damage was a disappointment for many developing countries, as it did not contain any mechanism for such funding.

Many observers have also criticized the talks for the final hours of watering down commitments on the issue, although Sharma insisted in her post-plenary press conference that the very appearance of the concept in the final text for the first time in The history of climate negotiations since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 was a sign of a “new collegial approach”.

Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate praised the Scottish government after became the first developed country to commit money to a loss and damage fund.

Responding to the final text on Saturday evening, Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “During Cop26 Scotland put £ 2million on the table for loss and damage and in doing so we have become the first developed country to step up. Our action has already galvanized $ 3 million in philanthropic funds to add to our contribution and an additional € 1 million from Wallonia.

She added: “Developed countries can no longer, in good conscience, ignore this pressing moral issue. The demand for financial support for loss and damage must be met. “

Questions and answers

What is the Cop26?


Cop stands for Conference of the Parties under the UNFCCC. This year is the 26th iteration, postponed for one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it is being hosted by the UK in Glasgow.
For nearly three decades, the world’s governments have come together almost every year to forge a global response to the climate emergency. Under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), every country on Earth is bound by treaty to “avoid dangerous climate change” and find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse globally.

The conference officially opened on October 31, and more than 120 world leaders will meet in the first few days – although Russian Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping were notable absent. The leaders will then leave, leaving the complex negotiations to their representatives, mainly environment ministers or similar senior officials. In total, around 25,000 people are expected to attend the conference. Talks are expected to end at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 12.

Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent

Thank you for your opinion.

John Podesta, former White House chief of staff, influential US political analyst and founder of the Center for American Progress think tank, said the United States must “live up” to its commitments through domestic law. Biden, as well as through international diplomacy.

” If we [as a world] plan to achieve the increasingly ambitious goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 ° C and avoiding the most devastating impacts of climate change, we must go further, faster ”, a- he declared. “The level of our ambition must continue to rise. We need to turn goals into concrete actions during this decade and double climate finance to help developing countries make the transition and adapt. The coal language in the final text does not respond to the accelerated pace of the clean energy transition the world needs to tackle the climate crisis. We must work to phase out coal.

He added: “The United States must live up to our commitment and pass the Build Back Better Act so that we can tackle the climate crisis and build a fair and equitable clean energy economy with well-paying union jobs for the people. American. “


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