Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change

Special presidential envoy for climate John KerryJohn KerryA presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day Equilibrium/Sustainability — Dam failures cap a year of disasters Four environmental fights to watch in 2022 MORE on Wednesday called out a handful of countries that need to “step up” on climate change, urging them to do more as the world works to stave off the worst effects of global warming.

Kerry, during an interview at the Reuters Next conference, said the current commitments of a number of countries fall short of what is necessary to limit global warning to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. 

“And that means you have China, India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, a group of countries that are going to have to step up,” Kerry said.

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“And we have to help them. This is not just unloaded responsibility on them,” he added.

Kerry has been adamant about China being part of the global fight against climate change, at one point saying the current climate situation cannot be rectified without “full engagement and commitment” from Beijing.

Kerry told Reuters on Wednesday the U.S. is working with some developing countries to help quicken the speed at which they are able to shift to cleaner forms of energy.

He specifically cited the backing the U.S. has shown for India and its clean energy enterprises and a joint agreement the U.S. entered into with China in November in which Beijing, the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, said it would start accelerating its emissions cuts.

Some developing countries, however, have objected to eliminating fossil fuels from within their borders because they said it is still essential for economic growth, according to Reuters.

They reportedly assert that they do not have enough financial backing to make the switch to cleaner energy, while noting that larger, wealthier countries that are responsible for a large chunk of historical emissions have had the luxury of using fossil fuels for more than 100 years.

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Kerry’s comments came after countries convened in Glasgow, Scotland, last month for a United Nations climate summit, where they reached a deal that calls for cutting global carbon dioxide emissions 45 percent by 2030 when compared to 2010 levels.

Kerry on Wednesday said private investments for clean-energy technologies, such as green hydrogen, long-term battery storage, modular nuclear reactors and carbon capture, are also essential for fighting climate change, according to Reuters.

“No government on the planet has enough money to effect this transition ... but the private sector does have that money. I believe the private sector has the ability to win this battle for us,” he said.