Energy & Environment

Kerry warns the US has 9 years to avoid worst climate consequences

getty: John Kerry

Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry warned Friday that there are just nine years left for the U.S. to evade the worst possible climate change consequences. 

During remarks at the Munich Security Conference, Kerry noted that a “group of scientists told us three years ago that we had 12 years.”

“Around 2030 is the date at which we have to get the world now on the right path in order to cap the level of warming at that level of 1.5 [degrees].”

He made similar remarks during a recent interview with CBS News

“The scientists told us three years ago we had 12 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis. We are now three years gone, so we have nine years left,” Kerry said. 

The former secretary of State appeared to be referring to a 2018 United Nations report, which warned that global emissions needed to decrease 45 percent by 2030 in order to avert 1.5 degrees of global warming. 

The Biden administration is expected to release an updated set of emissions reduction goals before Earth Day this year. 

“We all need to develop not just a number but a road map for how we will actually make the dramatic progress we need to make over the next 10 years and what we will specifically do to get to net-zero by no later than 2050,” Kerry stated. 

Kerry also stressed that fighting climate change is important to prevent extreme winter weather like what the country is experiencing in the South from becoming “the new normal.”

“It is directly related to the warming, even though your instinct is to say, wait a minute, this is the new Ice Age. But it’s not,” he said. “It is coming from the global warming and it threatens all the normal weather patterns.”

The warning from Kerry comes as the U.S. officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement Friday, but the Biden administration official stressed that just rejoining isn’t enough. 

“We know that just doing Paris is not enough,” Kerry said during the launch event for a new climate action group called America is All In. “If every country delivered, we’d still see a warming planet Earth.”

Updated at 1:39 p.m.

Tags Climate change John Kerry
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