John Kerry Warns ‘We’re in Trouble’ on Climate Change

“Coal is the dirtiest fuel on the planet."

kerry speaks at cop26
U.S. special climate envoy, John Kerry speaks during the COP26 climate change conference on November 10, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

John Kerry, the first United States special presidential envoy for climate, said that the world is “not on a good track” in its goal of avoiding the worst effects of climate change, Reuters reported. Kerry said actions to move away from fossil fuels must be strengthened this decade.

On Monday, Kerry addressed “Building Momentum to UN COP27,” an event hosted by officials from Egypt — who will host the next UN climate summit — and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“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,” Kerry said, as The Hill reported.

Kerry expressed concern regarding the recent increase in global coal use and about plans for the building of new coal plants that don’t use carbon capture technology, reported Reuters.

According to The Hill, Kerry blamed coal use for “the worst” of climate change.

“Coal is the dirtiest fuel on the planet, no one has figured out how to make it clean, even though they talk about clean coal,” Kerry said.

Kerry expressed that he is in support of gas if it incorporates carbon capture technology, Reuters reported.

“Many countries — most countries — have the ability to deploy very significant additional amounts of renewables, and they’re not doing it,” Kerry said, as The Hill reported.

Kerry said that, instead, gas usage in those countries has increased, adding that gas could be used as a “bridge fuel,” but that building gas infrastructure indefinitely would undermine the good it might do.

“If you can capture 100 percent [of emissions] and it makes it affordable — that’s wonderful. But we’re not doing that,” Kerry added, as reported by The Hill.

Kerry expressed that while the COP26 summit in Glasgow resulted in a lot of good, the planet is reaching dangerous tipping points. He cited recent research that found that the Arctic is warming four times faster than the rest of the Earth.

“No government in the world has the amount of money we need to affect this transition,” Kerry said at a virtual event last week, CNBC reported. “It will be private sector investment and private sector discovery more than anything else … that’s what’s going to get us out of this hole.”

Kerry said that the number of private sector entities that had set forth net-zero goals at the Glasgow summit encouraged him, reported The Hill.

“We need to be compelled as human beings, as leaders particularly, to respond to this,” added Kerry, as The Hill reported.

Cristen Hemingway Jaynes is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. She holds a JD and an Ocean & Coastal Law Certificate from University of Oregon School of Law and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London.

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