“Fundamentally, the struggle to tackle the global climate crisis is … about protecting and preserving the fragile world that we share,” said U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
“It’s about understanding that it costs more not to respond to the climate crisis than it does to respond. And it is, without exaggeration, about survival.”
Speaking in London, Mr. Kerry said that the climate crisis is the test of our time, and time is running out. In 2015, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, with the intent of limiting the total increase in the Earth’s temperature to below two degrees Celsius, and to pursue efforts towards 1.5.
“Under the Agreement, each country committed to do what it determined by itself it was willing to do, collectively, to put the world on the right path,” said Mr. Kerry. But even if everyone did as they promised in Paris, the temperature of this planet would still rise by 2.5 or 3 degrees centigrade. “We’re already seeing dramatic consequences.”
“We’re living in a world where crops no longer grow where they always did before; the chemistry of the oceans changes more and faster than ever before – where millions of people are forced to leave increasingly uninhabitable homelands – maybe 20 million a year migrating around the world. We all know that the political impact of migration was a few years ago, and still, imagine what happens when places become uninhabitable and people are knocking on the door of places where they know people can live.”
This is what we are seeing now that the temperature has risen by just 1.2 degrees. “To contemplate doubling that is to invite catastrophe,” said Mr. Kerry. “We can still avoid it. But we have to begin to act with genuine urgency, bringing countries all across this planet together.”
The world needs to cut emissions – greenhouse gas CO2 emissions particularly – by at least 45 percent by 2030 in order to be on a credible scientific path by midcentury to net zero. … 45 percent – not just in some countries or some regions, but the world over.… That makes this the decisive decade. And it makes 2021 a decisive year.”
“We can – and must – achieve this together, especially knowing the triumph or tragedy of the two alternative worlds that await our choices,” said Mr. Kerry. “It’s what we’ve always done when we know that the world needs it most. We can come together.”