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John Kerry ‘Not Confident Enough’ Is Done To Avoid Climate Change’s Worst Damage

Our series “he on Earth” examines how weather disasters in the United States and around the world are signaling alarming red flags. Scientists say climate change is behind a series of extreme weather disasters this summer.

In an interview seen only on CBS News, Roxana Saberi asked John Kerry, President Biden’s special climate envoy, if the weather disasters seen this summer are spurring world leaders to act. More than 200 of the world’s top climate scientists are now meeting to finalize a landmark UN report.

“Do you feel that there is a new sense of urgency at the international level to do something faster? Saberi asked Kerry.

“I think there is a growing sense of urgency,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s quite at the highest level that needs to be coordinated around the planet as it there are a lot of things we need to do. “

Meanwhile, Forest fires rage across the west, Canada, even Siberia; deadly floods are sweeping Europe and China; and heat waves strike the United States

“It’s a direct impact of the climate crisis,” Kerry said. “And scientists tell us there are things we can do. We can move forward.”

Kerry has traveled the world, calling on countries to do more to reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, transportation and industry.

“We need to reduce emissions enough between 2020 and 2030 that we can keep the limit of the Earth’s temperature rise alive,” Kerry said.

Under the 2015 Paris Climate Treaty, nearly 190 countries have pledged to limit global warming to nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit this century. But the UN says the world is already here 2 degrees warmer than pre-industrial levels, contributing to melting ice, sea level rise and droughts around the world.

In the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, key elements of the president’s climate plans – like a clean energy standard and the phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies – which he says are needed to bring A United States to net zero emissions by 2050 has faced opposition from many Republican lawmakers, who say the measures would kill jobs. Kerry disagrees.

“Jobs of a different kind will be available,” Kerry said. “As we build a legitimate grid in America to handle our electricity and power movements, this is going to require plumbers, electricians, pipe fitters, construction workers and heavy equipment and cover the gamut. is an economic opportunity. “

“How can the United States continue to be a world leader on climate change,” Saberi said, “if President Biden fails to get the major parts of his agenda through? “

“Oh, I think the president will eventually pass the climate bill,” Kerry said. “And … I’m not going to look at a single piece of legislation.”

“Would he act outside of Congress?” Saberi asked.

“I think the president will do whatever he can,” Kerry said.

And Kerry says extreme weather conditions around the world will be increasingly difficult to ignore.

“We have a window of opportunity to win this battle,” Kerry said. “And so young people are now asking adults to behave like adults and to do that.”

“You have children and grandchildren,” Saberi said. “We saw the video of your granddaughter sitting on your lap when you signed the Paris climate agreement in 2016. Should they be worried or optimistic? “

“I don’t want them to worry,” Kerry said. “I am convinced that we will get to a low carbon, zero carbon economy. I am not convinced that we will get there in time to avoid the worst damage. We have to get there.”

On Sunday and Monday, Kerry and officials from 50 other countries met to find ways to make it happen. They discussed how to reduce global emissions, ahead of the UN Cop26 summit in November in Scotland. But there are sticking points – like phasing out coal and determining who will pay for the policies needed to limit global warming.

The European Union is considering an ambitious climate plan, including a tax on imports from countries with high carbon emissions.
Kerry told Saberi that her team are exploring the possibility of doing the same in the United States.

“President Biden has asked our team to assess this as thoroughly as possible to understand all of its implications,” said Kerry. “He has not spoken in favor of this yet. But it is one of the tools being considered to deal with the problem of other countries which do not budge.”


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