Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryA new UN climate architecture is emerging focused on need for speed Xi says China will no longer build coal plants abroad Biden's post-Afghanistan focus on China is mostly positive so far MORE downplayed the importance Monday of a climate change agreement with legally binding emissions reduction targets.
Speaking at an event coinciding with the Paris climate talks, Kerry said that an accord without binding reductions, like what many world leaders want out of Paris, would be enough for the private sector to get the needed reductions.
“I don’t frankly look to government to solve this problem over the course of the next few years. It’s not going to happen,” Kerry said. “I look to the private sector.”
The Paris agreement is on track to be the first time that nearly all of the world’s nations agree to take steps to fight climate change.
And while Kerry and other world leaders want the agreement to legally mandate certain reporting and transparency measures for countries to say how they’re meeting their targets, they do not want the emissions targets themselves to be binding.
“Paris’s importance is that even without the fixed number and the legal shell, we are going to see an enormous amount of movement without creating political obstacles that prevent us from being able to send that signal,” Kerry said.
“I have absolute confidence in the ability of capital to move where the signal of the marketplace says ‘go’ after Paris.”
A binding deal would require Senate ratification with a two-thirds vote, something the Obama administration does not believe would be possible.
Kerry was a senator when the United Nations finalized the Kyoto protocol in 1997, but he said he ran into a “buzzsaw of opposition” in trying to get it ratified.
The secretary of State and other foreign ministers came to Paris Monday, halfway through the scheduled talks, to try to wrap up the remaining disagreements and come to a final deal by Friday, something he said he is optimistic will happen.