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Global climate efforts falling short: Kerry

24 Jan 2022 20:38 GMT
Global climate efforts falling short: Kerry

Washington, 24 January (Argus) — The world is falling short of what needs to be done to head off the worst effects of climate change, with continued investment in coal and natural gas among the top concerns, US special climate envoy John Kerry said today.

"We're in trouble, I hope everybody understands that. Not trouble we can't get out of but we're not on a good track," he said during an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt to preview this year's COP 27 climate talks being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Kerry singled out a large queue of planned new coal-fired generation around the world as a major threat to progress toward averting the most serious consequences of climate change.

"That is a problem," he said. "There is just no other way to cut it. Coal is the dirtiest fuel on the planet. Nobody has figured out how to make it clean even though they talk about clean coal."

He also said that investments in new natural gas infrastructure could also put global efforts at risk. While gas can play an important role as a "bridge fuel," the associated emissions from new projects need to be kept addressed.

"We're not going to solve the problem unless we can capture and store or find a utilization of carbon," Kerry said.

Instead, Kerry urged countries to look more toward renewables over the next decade to keep the world on a path to avoiding a greater than 1.5°C increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels.

"We have to be thinking hard about deploying more renewables." he said. "That is absolutely critical. We have that technology. We can do it."

Kerry said he hopes the climate talks in Egypt this November can build on the successes from last year's COP 26 in Glasgow and result in more countries coming up with more ambitions goals to reduce greenhouse gases.

The host country is planning to focus the talks on the finance and support needed to help countries deploy clean energy technologies and reduce emissions.

"We will be listening carefully to the needs and priorities of African and other developing countries who have suffered greatly from the negative effects of climate change," Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said.