World (Mar 09, 2021 10:40AM ET)
© Reuters. EU Commission visit of US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry
By Kate Abnett
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – This year’s United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, must kick-start a decade of action to address the environmental crisis, U.S. climate change envoy John Kerry said on Tuesday during a visit to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels.
After four fractious years under former President Donald Trump, Kerry’s trip marks a new start in transatlantic relations – which the former U.S. Secretary of State and EU climate chief Frans Timmermans hope can reshape global efforts to tackle climate change.
“This is the moment. Glasgow is the last, best opportunity that we have and the best hope that the world will come together and build on Paris,” Kerry said, referring to the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
“Scientists tell us this decade, 2020 to 2030, must be the decade of action,” he said.
Nearly 200 countries committed under the Paris Agreement to halt the increase in global temperatures to levels that would avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
However, most large emitters are not living up to that goal.
On Tuesday, Kerry and Timmermans will discuss how the United States and the EU – the world’s second and third-largest emitters of greenhouse gases – can convince other big polluters to make tougher pledges to slash planet-warming emissions. The November U.N. summit serves as a deadline for countries to make those pledges.
The eight months leading up to the summit are “absolutely essential for all of us,” Kerry said.
China last week announced a five-year plan that analysts said would see its emissions rise. India, Japan, Russia and Brazil are all under pressure to commit to faster emissions cuts.
The EU has already upgraded its pledge. The EU’s 27 member countries agreed in December to cut their net greenhouse gas emissions at least 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.
The United States is due to announce its own pledge next month. EU officials and environmental groups are seeking a commitment to reduce emissions at least 50% this decade below 2005 levels.
“If it doesn’t start with a 5, we don’t consider that good,” an EU diplomat said of the U.S. pledge, referring to an emissions cut by 2030 against 2005 levels.
This must be the ‘decade of action’ on climate change, John Kerry says