Cop27 is where the rubber hits the road.
That was the message from US climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday as he called on all countries to “step up” climate commitments to avoid worsening disasters.
Mr Kerry spoke to reporters during a briefing ahead of the United Nations international climate summit which begins in just over a week in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
“Cop27, we consider him an enforcement cop,” he said. “And the aim is to ensure that the promises that were made in Glasgow are actually pursued at the rate at which they need to be pursued.”
The former US secretary of state also called on ‘people who didn’t intervene in Glasgow’ to come up with more ambitious emissions reduction targets, known as ‘nationally determined contributions’ (NDCs), as required by the Cop26 agreement. .
It is essential that these commitments are made, Mr Kerry said, because scientific evidence shows that it is “imperative” that the increase in the Earth’s temperature be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“If we don’t, we will bring much greater destruction upon ourselves, upon the planet. Much more inhospitable, even unlivable conditions,” he said.
Mr Kerry also said the United States is committed to engaging “in a serious dialogue about how the world is going to deal with loss and damage” – a demand that will be at the center of COP27 as poorer countries, bearing the brunt of the impacts, call on the richer countries largely responsible for climate change to pay.
Recent devastating monsoons in Pakistan, compounded by global warming, led to floods that left around a third of the country under water, killed more than 1,000 people and caused damage estimated at $40 billion. Pakistani leaders have called for global financial assistance to address climate damage.
Experts say Pakistan has historically contributed just 0.4% of the fossil fuel pollution responsible for climate damage, compared to 21.5% for the United States, 16.5% for China and 15 % for the European Union.
Mr Kerry stressed that “loss and damage” was enshrined in the 2015 global Paris Agreement and said it was on the table for the Egypt summit.
“At Glasgow we reaffirmed that and we have always said that it is imperative that the developed world helps the developing world to deal with the impacts of climate,” Mr Kerry said.
He continued: “And we are ready to discuss fully in Sharm el-Sheikh all the ways we can try to be fair and to bring together the efforts of the world to help us address the concerns of many countries. We are very supportive of loss and damage management in the context of cops.”
But at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said the idea of the United States or any other country offering a trillion dollars for the issue is a no-start, politically and otherwise.
Any move that threatens to hold rich countries to account for legal liability “is going to be a problem for everyone, not just us,” Kerry said. “So how do you do this in a way that actually makes money, sets up a system? We are totally in favor of that.
“We are working on it, and we will do it in Sharm,” he said. “We won’t, you know, obstruct.”
With additional AP report