Kerry calls for 'follow through' after COP26

Kerry calls for 'follow through' after COP26
© Associated Press/Alastair Grant

U.S. special climate envoy John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE on Friday called for "follow through" after the United Nations climate summit, noting that the conference, known as COP26, would not be enough to fix the issue of climate change. 

He said that he doesn’t think the world will be able to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius — which the UN has warned is necessary to stave off the worst climate harms — based only on achievements from the two-week conference. 

“The achievement of that is going to require all countries to be part of this. Are we going to have all countries part of this at the sufficient level that we need at the end of this next week? No,” Kerry said, adding that he knew that when he took the job. 

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But he expressed optimism that the target is still in reach. 

“We do know that we can have a critical mass of countries moving in a way that keeps it alive, sufficient that if some of these other countries come on in a year, in 6 months, next year, we can still do this,” he added.

He also said that in order to get there, more countries have to raise their ambitions or more money needs to flow to the necessary investments. 

“The follow through coming out of here is essential,” he said. “Either the follow through is even a greater raising of ambition faster and more pressure put on countries that are not doing some of the things we need or the follow through is that everybody starts to join we get all the money at work that needs to be put to work.”

He also expressed that this year, parties are showing up with more ambition than in the past. 

“What we’ll also have is a level of ambition and a statement of goals and a capacity to get where we need to go that we’ve never had before in all the years that I’ve been at these conferences,” Kerry said. 

During the global climate conference, world leaders are gathering to make a number of climate and environmental pledges and negotiate outstanding rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.