Sunday, October 17

US Joins Paris Climate Accord with Warning: This Year’s Talks Are “the Last and Best Hope” | US News

The United States has marked its return to the Paris agreement by urging countries to do more to tackle the climate crisis, and US climate envoy John Kerry has warned that this year’s international talks are the “last and best hope.” to avoid catastrophic global warming.

On Friday, the United States officially returned to the Paris climate accord, 107 days after it left at the urging of former President Donald Trump. Joe Biden moved to reverse this on his first day in office, and Kerry admitted that America is coming back “with great humility, through the agony of the last four years.”

“This is a significant day, a day that never had to happen,” Kerry told Al Gore, the former US Vice President, in a filmed conversation on the eve of re-entry. “It is very sad that our previous president, without any legitimate scientific basis or economic justification, decided to remove the United States. He hurt us and he hurt the world. “

Yet the Biden administration’s contrition is balanced by a desire to retake the mantle of leadership at a time when nearly all countries are scrambling to undertake the rapid emissions cuts needed to avoid disastrous 1.5 ° global warming. C above the pre-industrial era. , as described in the Paris agreement.

Kerry said none of the world’s major emitters, including China, India and the EU, is doing enough and that key UN climate talks later this year in Glasgow, Scotland, provide the “latest and greatest hope we have “for the world to move on. monitoring to avoid runaway climate change.

“The Glasgow meeting becomes more important,” said Kerry, a former US Secretary of State. “We are at this most critical moment where we have the ability to define the 1920s that will make or break us to reach net zero carbon by 2050.” Kerry said countries will have to “define in real terms their roadmap for the next 10 years, the next 30 years. We are talking about a reality that until now we have not been able to bring together in these meetings ”.

Kerry said that the use of coal needs to be phased out much more quickly, along with a rapid escalation of electric vehicles and renewable energy, and that he hoped “to build some new coalitions and approach this in a new way.” The US climate envoy said he has reached out to pro-fossil fuel leaders in Brazil and Australia, who “have had some differences with us, we have not been able to be completely on the same page.”

“Over the past four years, there have been many occasions when many of us thought that the failure of this company can be based on one word: Trump,” Kerry said at an event on Friday to mark the re-entry to Paris. “But the international climate regime still stands.”

While emissions around the world from factories, aircraft, and car use fell dramatically last year due to pandemic-related lockdowns, there are already signs of a roaring comeback that risks exceeding the limits of agreed temperature and trigger a worsening of heat waves, floods, storms and social unrest. The narrowing time window to avoid climate collapse means there is only brief applause for the return of the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“It’s good to have the United States back in the Paris agreement, but sadly we don’t have time to celebrate,” said Laurence Tubiana, France’s climate change ambassador and a key architect of the Paris agreement. “The climate crisis is deepening and this is the year that we need all the major polluters to step up and deliver stronger plans to deliver a safe, clean and prosperous future for all.”

The United States will issue a new emissions reduction commitment ahead of Biden’s April 22 summit with other major emitting countries, and Tubiana said this goal should be “at least” a 50% reduction in greenhouse gases to 2030, from 2005 levels. The United States, under Barack Obama, promised a 26% cut by 2025 and reached about half of this goal before the Covid-19 outbreak.

A coalition of nearly 200 environmental and humanitarian groups they have urged for the Biden administration to go beyond the largely symbolic act of meeting with the Paris agreement by contributing billions of dollars to help defend the poorest countries vulnerable to climate impacts and “lead with action rather than just words”.

“The climate crisis is a race against time, and the United States is just getting to the starting line after years of inaction,” said Jean Su, director of energy justice at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As the world’s largest historical polluter, the United States must take its fair share of robust climate action on both the national and global stages.”

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