US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry called on China to join the US in urgently cutting greenhouse gas emissions and described the international alliances that rebuilt Europe after World War II as a model for fighting climate change.
Kerry challenged global leaders to accelerate action to curb temperature rise.
“Allies, partners, competitors and even adversaries” must work together, he said during a speech at London’s Kew Gardens. “The climate crisis is the test of our own times, and while it may be unfolding in slow motion, to some, this test is as acute and as existential as any previous one.”
“Time is running out,” he said.
Kerry described the next decade as decisive, saying that countries around the world must speed up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions if they are to meet a commitment to limit temperature increases to no more than 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels.
Organizers of the next UN climate summit are calling the November event in Glasgow, Scotland, “the world’s last best chance to get runaway climate change under control.”
The primary goal of the meeting, known as COP26, is for countries to set “ambitious” targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
To meet these targets, countries need to phase out the use of coal, reduce deforestation, accelerate the shift to electric vehicles and encourage investment in sources of renewable energy, conference organizers have said.
China, the US and India are the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.
Kerry referred to the often tense relationship between the US and China, but said that the future depended on their cooperation.
Both countries also need to raise their ambitions, he said.
“It is not a mystery that China and the US have many differences, but on climate, cooperation is the only way to break free from the world’s current mutual suicide pact,” he said.
US “President [Joe] Biden and [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping, 習近平] have both stated unequivocally that each will cooperate on climate despite other consequential differences. America needs China to succeed in slashing emissions. China needs America to do the same,” he added.
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