Kerry: Glasgow deal puts us closer to 'avoiding climate chaos'

Special Presidential Climate Envoy John KerryJohn KerryKerry 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 To address China's coal emissions, the US could use a little help from its friends MORE praised a deal reached at a climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, saying it will help the world avoid “climate chaos,” while also taking issue with the way a last-minute change in the deal was achieved.  

“I really do believe that as a result of this decision and as a result of the announcements that have been made over course of the last two weeks, we are in fact, closer than we have ever been before to avoiding climate chaos and securing cleaner air, safer water and [a] healthier planet,” Kerry said during a press conference after the deal was agreed to. 

Nearly 200 countries agreed to the “Glasgow Climate Pact” on Saturday. But some language in the deal relating to coal was watered down at the last minute amid a push from India.

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The country proposed an amendment just before the deal was finalized, changing language calling for a “phaseout” of unabated coal to instead call it a “phase down.” 

Unabated coal is coal that doesn’t use technology to capture its emissions. 

During his press conference, Kerry defended the “phase down” language saying, “you have to phase down coal before you can ... ‘end coal.’”

But he criticized the last-minute nature of the switch. 

“Did I appreciate that we had to adjust one thing tonight in a very unusual way? No. But if we hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have an agreement,” he said.