Cop26 will likely miss target, says US climate commissioner John Kerry.
US Climate Ambassador John Kerry has admitted that the Cop26 summit is likely to end without nations agreeing to the carbon savings needed to curb devastating climate change.
Boris Johnson hopes the UK – hosting key talks in Glasgow next month – can encourage countries to commit to cuts that would keep global warming at 1.5 ° C.
But in a grim assessment, Kerry suggested that after the UN conference concluded in mid-November, some countries would leave “gaps” in meeting the 1.5C target.
“When Glasgow is over we will know who is doing their fair share and who is not,” President Joe Biden’s envoy told the Associated Press.
When asked about efforts to bridge the gap between the emissions cuts promised by countries and the cuts actually needed, Kerry said, “We will hopefully get very close to that.”
The US Climate Ambassador added: “Although there will be a gap and … we need to be honest about the gap and we need to use the gap as another motivation to accelerate further as soon as possible.”
Kerry declined to cite China by name as a reason why Glasgow might not be as successful – although surprise announcements from Beijing are seen as possible.
“It would be wonderful if everyone came and now everyone reaches 1.5 degrees,” he said. “That would be great. But some countries simply do not yet have the energy mix that allows them to do so. “
Kerry also warned the U.S. Congress to pass the Biden administration’s laws for accelerating climate action. Some Democrats are blocking measures aimed at delivering on US pledge to cut its emissions at least in half by 2030.
When asked how the government’s difficulty keeping its own promises had affected his work at rallying other countries, Kerry said, “Well, it hurts. I’m not going to pretend this is the best way to send the best message. I mean, we have to do these things. “
Johnson, meanwhile, has been accused of failing to display the kind of “statecraft” needed to get countries to further cut their Cop26 emissions.
Labor said the Conservative Prime Minister failed to take the summit seriously enough or to be “open” enough about the scale of the action needed to address the climate emergency.
In an attack on Johnson’s vacation ahead of the talks, the opposition said: “It is time for the Prime Minister to get off his sunbed, be a statesman and make Glasgow the success we need.”
Johnson’s Cop26 spokeswoman Allegra Stratton, however, insisted he focus on the summit, saying the success of the talks will be measured by “getting to the end and feeling like 1.5 has been kept alive”.
Tory Minister Alok Sharma, President of Cop26, also mentioned the main goal of the November conference to keep 1.5 alive.
In a speech in Paris earlier this week, Sharma said the pledges made by the G20 could be “make or break” to limit global temperature rise.
Sharma has said the summit must have a negotiation outcome that outlines heightened ambitions by 2030 and provides the long-promised $ 100 billion a year in funding for poorer countries.