Kerry Sees Rekindled EU Ties Shifting Global Climate Momentum

A renewed alliance between the U.S. and the European Union on climate issues could shift the dynamics of crucial global talks, encouraging China and other major polluters to step up their efforts to reduce emissions, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said.

The new U.S. administration and the 27-nation bloc are tightening links in the fight against global warming in a sign that major international alliances will be key to making a crunch summit this November a success. Kerry arrived in Brussels Tuesday and discussed green diplomatic outreach with top European Commission officials.

Kerry Sees Rekindled EU Ties Shifting Global Climate Momentum

“Together Europe and the United States represent two of the largest markets in the world,” he said in an interview. “And if these two markets, represented by their major corporations that sell and do business around the world, are agreeing that this is an urgent priority and we need to address it, we need to address it sensibly.”

Five years since nations pledged in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change, countries are still well behind in their climate pledges.

The global level of ambition needs to increase between three and five-fold to deliver on the accord to try and limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, according to the United Nations Emissions Gap Report.

President Joe Biden’s administration has vowed to guide the U.S. toward a zero-carbon economy by 2050 after returning to the Paris deal. Before the world’s climate envoys gather in Scotland this November, Biden wants to convene a summit in April to convince some of the biggest emitters to play their part. Kerry said its participants will include 17 members of the Major Economies Forum, including Brazil, China and India.

Kerry and EU climate czar Frans Timmermans urged all countries to ramp up climate action on Tuesday. China, which last year set a target to reach climate neutrality by 2060, pledged only incremental improvements in the near-term under its new five-year plan.

“Our hope is very strong that we can again work with China in order to move forward and we also believe that there are things that China could do that would not disturb its economy,” Kerry said. “We look forward to having this dialog so that we can hopefully move the process forward.”

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