US Is Open to Coordinate Green Diplomacy With EU, Says Kerry Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Ewa Krukowska Tuesday, 11 May 2021 07:38 AM
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told the European Union he was open to coordinating with the bloc in a bid to encourage other nations to step up their commitments in the fight against global warming.
Kerry spoke with European foreign affairs ministers during their meeting on Monday as the U.S. seeks to regain its position as a climate leader. A renewed green alliance with the 27-nation EU could help maintain momentum before key international climate talks in Glasgow in November.
Upcoming meetings of G-7 and G-20 groups of countries, as well as the United Nations General Assembly and EU-U.S. consultations, will offer opportunities to encourage other countries to step up their efforts, according to two European diplomats with knowledge of the talks. The participants reiterated that urgent action is needed to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius and achieve climate neutrality by 2050, said the diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.
Kerry has said repeatedly that the November climate talks will be the last chance for the world to avoid climate disaster. The global summit is crucial because nations are expected to update their pledges under the 2015 Paris Agreement. Only a handful of new emission-reduction plans were submitted last year, including the EU committing to deepen its greenhouse gas-cut goal to at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.
President Joe Biden pledged on April 22 that the U.S. would reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, significantly boosting the initial U.S. commitment made under former President Barack Obama. Since assuming office, Biden has taken significant steps to reverse the pro-fossil fuel policies of former president Donald Trump.
Kerry suggested at the meeting that he and EU climate chief Frans Timmermans start a joint working group to coordinate diplomatic outreach, according to the diplomats. Some of the world’s biggest emitters, including China and India, have yet to submit new pledges. The EU and U.S. are expected to press other countries including Australia, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Mexico to step up their commitments.
The two officials also highlighted the importance of making good on the promise made by rich countries in 2009 to mobilize $100 billion a year to help developing nations in their green transition. Making the funding available is seen as key for the Glasgow summit to have a good chance of success.