U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry Warns Glasgow Is Last Chance for Action

U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate czar promised to make a success of the next round of global warming talks, warning it will be the last chance the world has to avoid climate disaster.

In his first speech since becoming U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry said failure is “simply not an option” at COP26, which is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.

“We really have the world’s last, most important opportunity to come together to raise ambition and to take the next step from Paris,” he said Thursday at B-20, a business leaders event advising G-20 nations.

Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement on Wednesday immediately after taking office, reversing a decision by former President Donald Trump. The Paris deal pledges to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, striving to keep temperature increases as low as 1.5°C.

U.S. Climate Envoy Kerry Warns Glasgow Is Last Chance for Action

That decision was criticized by Republican Senator Ted Cruz on Wednesday evening, who tweeted that it shows Biden “is more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh.” The comment repeats a far-right talking point that misrepresents the aims of the Paris accord and contradicts research that shows transitioning to cleaner energy can generate jobs and boost economic growth.

Kerry praised Europe’s policies on tackling climate and blasted Trump’s stance as “reckless” and embarrassing. He said the U.S. will now try to repair its reputation and seek to close the gap by increasing action. Biden plans to set a goal for net-zero U.S. emissions by 2050.

Biden’s next task will be to announce a U.S. emissions target for 2030, which will be key to success at COP26. While Kerry said the U.S. will rejoin the accord with increased ambition, he stopped short of suggesting a figure for emissions cuts.

Analysts at Climate Action Tracker estimate the U.S. would need a goal to cut emissions by at least 52% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels, in order to make a fair contribution.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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