02 November 2021

‘I’ve never seen such ambition, commitment and urgency on climate,’ says Kerry

02 November 2021

US climate envoy John Kerry has said he has never seen such ambition, commitment and urgency on climate talks as he has at Cop26 in Glasgow.

The former secretary of state spoke to reporters after he announced the US would become part of a group of 14 other countries aiming to sustainably manage 100% of the ocean under their jurisdiction by 2025.

But he refused to wade into the ongoing trouble facing President Joe Biden in passing a 1.85 trillion dollar Bill which would, in part, seek to address climate change.

Mr Kerry plans to remain in Glasgow for the full two weeks of the summit and spoke of his optimism at the level of work already undertaken.

Frankly, we're a day and a half into this, and I've seen more energy and more commitment and more urgency than I've ever seen and I've been doing this since 1988

He said: “We’ve already achieved an enormous amount at Cop, in ambition, money, a whole bunch of new initiatives.

“Frankly, we’re a day and a half into this, and I’ve seen more energy and more commitment and more urgency than I’ve ever seen and I’ve been doing this since 1988.”

When asked if China should increase its plans to reduce emissions, he said: “I have no idea.

“We’re in touch with the Chinese, we’ve been talking to them, we’ve been doing that steadily.

“We’ve had more than 25 negotiating sessions, I went to China twice.”

Mr Kerry said he looked forward to meeting Xi Zenhua, the top diplomat at the summit from China after President Xi Jinping said he would not attend.

But the former presidential candidate refused to wade into the domestic issues which have stymied President Biden’s climate plans.

Two senators, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, have repeatedly refused to vote for the reconciliation Bill, which has dropped in value from 3.5 trillion dollars (£2.57 trillion) to 1.85 trillion dollars (£1.36 trillion) as a result.

“We’re not dependent on the schedule of Congress,” he said.

“Congress will do, I’m confident, what they’re planning to do.

“It’s the President that is negotiating that, not me, and so I’m not going to get involved in that.”

He added: “We had a set of priorities for here and those priorities are priorities because this issue is a priority.”

Mr Kerry went on to lay out some of the measures being taken by the US Government to tackle climate change, including a pledge from two of the world’s biggest car manufacturers – Ford and General Motors – to end combustion engine production by 2035.

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