Re-setting the United States on a sustainable path toward mitigating climate change is at the top of President Joe Biden’s agenda. On day one, the new President took immediate action to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Then within days of being sworn into office, the President signed a flurry of executive actions aimed at tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad, making broad changes to government policy.
But climate change is a global challenge that cannot be managed without decisive international cooperation. John Kerry is President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate at the January 27th virtual meeting of the Davos World Economic Forum:
“Domestic action cannot possibly be enough if we don’t together forge an international strategy to galvanize the world to drive greater ambition from every country, every sector and ensure that the clean energy future we need is global in scope and scale.”
2020 stands as the warmest year on record, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. In order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which many experts consider necessary to stave off catastrophic harm, “we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030,” said Secretary Kerry:
“It means we have to phase out coal five times faster than we have been. It means we have to increase tree cover five times faster. It means we have to ramp up renewable energy six times faster. It means we have to transition to electric vehicles at a rate 22 times faster.”
“All of that is achievable if we plan, if we invest, and if we tap the forces of the marketplace,” said Secretary Kerry:
“We have to get away from this argument that deniers and procrastinators have made that this is a choice between a quality of life or taking care of this challenge.Success means tapping into the best of global ingenuity, creativity, and diplomacy. From brain power to alternative energy power, using every tool we have to get where we need to go. A [net]-zero emission future offers remarkable opportunity for business, for clean, green jobs, for economic growth.”
“It’s fair to say that ... we don’t have a single moment to waste,” said Secretary Kerry. “ The whole world has to come to this table to solve the problem.”