John Kerry: UAE and Egypt climate action work shows 'bold leadership'

Climate disasters should be a motivation to act with urgency

John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, on Tuesday spoke about the US's international climate efforts before Cop27. AP
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US Presidential envoy for climate John Kerry on Wednesday called the UAE and Egypt's work to hasten the energy transformation "bold leadership".

"They're deeply engaged on the cutting edge of trying to help accelerate the transformation," Mr Kerry said in a briefing.

"In addition, the UAE has been on the cutting edge of a whole bunch of technology investments. And for a gas and oil-producing country, I think it's exceptional."

"I think that's bold leadership."

Mr Kerry said that the US is working "very closely with Dr Sultan Al Jaber and with His Excellency the President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed".

With just a couple of weeks before the UN climate summit starts in Egypt’s coastal town of Sharm El Sheikh, Mr Kerry laid out Washington's top priorities for Cop27.

He said that the Biden administration's goal at the climate summit was to assure that the promises that were made in Glasgow were "actually being pursued at the pace they need to be pursued".

Mr Kerry spoke of the devastating effects of climate change in Africa, which is home to 17 of the world’s 20 most climate-vulnerable countries.

He said developed nations, which are responsible for 80 per cent of greenhouse emissions, should take the lead in helping developing states adapt to the effects of climate change and be ahead of the curve for the new energy future.

Mr Kerry said climate disasters should be a motivation to act with urgency and do everything to stop global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

"If we don't do that, we will bring much greater destruction on ourselves, [making] the planet much more inhospitable, even unlivable."

At the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, he said that Washington was open to seeking a middle ground on the growing demand for wealthy climate offenders to compensate poorer nations for damage to the Earth’s climate.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, developing countries were promised a pool of $100 billion a year to finance initiatives to help them cope with the effects of global warming.

That target has not been achieved.

“We believe we have to step up and we have a responsibility. We accept that,” Mr Kerry said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this month that financial commitments to the developing world must be delivered.

“We need to see evidence of how they will double adaptation finance to at least $40bn in 2025, as agreed in Glasgow at Cop26," Mr Guterres said.

More than 35,000 people are expected to take part in Cop27, which will be held in Egypt from November 6 to 18.

This will be the fifth time the event has been hosted in Africa.

The region's governments hope it will draw attention to the severe effects of climate change on the continent.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said Africa was one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.

Currently, 17 million people are estimated to be facing food insecurity in East Africa because of drought, the UN says.

Next year the UAE will host Cop28.

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Updated: October 27, 2022, 7:06 AM