Energy & Environment

Kerry warns about efforts to blunt climate change: ‘We’re in trouble’

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry warned Monday that the world is “in trouble” and off-track in its efforts to mitigate or reverse the impacts of climate change.

“Let be factual, above all, but let me also be blunt and hopefully motivating. We’re in trouble, I hope everybody understands that. Not trouble we can’t get out of, but we’re not on a good track,” Kerry said at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.

The former secretary of State said that “a lot of good things are happening, a huge amount of good came out of Glasgow,” referring to the COP26 summit in Scotland held last November. However, he said, “We’re already seeing tipping points arrived at,” citing recent research finding the Arctic is warming at quadruple the rate of the rest of the planet.

“We’re also seeing the impacts in floods and fires and mudslides and the extraordinary heat, which is growing in various parts of the world.”

“We need to be compelled as human beings, as leaders particularly, to respond to this,” Kerry added, saying he was encouraged by the number of private sector entities that announced net-zero goals at the summit.

However, the former Democratic presidential nominee expressed dismay at increased U.S. coal production, which came after the country hit a half-century low in 2020.

“That’s a problem … there’s just no other way to cut it. Coal is the dirtiest fuel on the planet, no one has figured out how to make it clean, even though they talk about clean coal,” Kerry added, attributing “the worst” of climate change to coal use.

“Many countries — most countries — have the ability to deploy very significant additional amounts of renewables, and they’re not doing it,” he said. Instead, he said, those countries have increased their use of gas, which he said can function as a “bridge fuel,” but that building unabated gas infrastructure undermined any good it might do.

“If you can capture 100 percent [of emissions] and it makes it affordable — that’s wonderful. But we’re not doing that,” he said.

Tags Climate change climate change resilience John Kerry

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