John Kerry to embark on European tour before Cop26

US climate envoy urges world leaders to act faster in reducing emissions

US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry. Photo: AFP
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The US special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, will visit three European countries this week to discuss efforts on addressing climate change before the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

Mr Kerry will visit Switzerland, Italy and France to meet climate officials and business leaders to discuss the need for clean energy in tackling the climate crisis.

His trip will conclude with a meeting in Paris on raising finances to battle the crisis.

Cop26, a two-week summit starting on October 31, is expected to bring together world leaders, climate experts and thousands of delegates from around the world to tackle climate change.

Mr Kerry on Tuesday told ABC News that the world must act now to reduce carbon emissions.

"Every country has to go faster. None of us can say we're really fast," he said.

Only a handful of countries are meeting targets set out by the 2015 Paris Climate Accords, Mr Kerry said.

Under the Paris Agreement, world governments pledged to keep global warming “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and even to 1.5°C.

The accord at the time was considered to be a landmark in tackling the climate crisis.

But the UN's most recent climate report said that the world was forecast to warm by an average of 2.7°C by the end of the century.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres offered a bleak assessment in the weeks leading up to Cop26, saying the world is "seemingly light years away from reaching our targets".

US President Joe Biden this month said recent extreme weather events were proof that climate change was here.

Last week Mr Biden pledged that the US would double the funds it committed under the Paris Agreement to assist poorer nations fight climate change.

But Mr Guterres remains sceptical, believing that mistrust between richer nations and developing countries puts the Glasgow summit at risk of failure.

"We are on the verge of the abyss, and when you are on the verge of the abyss, you need to be very careful about what the next step is," he said.

Updated: September 28, 2021, 8:56 PM