US climate envoy Kerry praises decision to hold Cop28 in UAE

Former secretary of state says Emirates has foresight to 'understand challenge of climate crisis'

US climate envoy John Kerry said the international global warming talks didn’t do enough to speed up cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases. AP
Powered by automated translation

US special climate envoy John Kerry on Wednesday praised the decision to hold next year’s Cop28 climate summit in the UAE, saying traditional hydrocarbon producers should be supported to lead the transition to clean energy.

The next UN climate conference will be held from late November in the UAE.

"I think it's very exciting that the UAE is going to host Cop and it's so important that you have an oil and gas-producing nation step up and say, 'We understand the challenge of the climate crisis',” Mr Kerry told Reuters

"They're very smart because they know that what's coming out of the ground is not forever, either physically or politically, and they're looking at what the new world is going to look like.

"If there are going to be new forms of energy, they want to be among the providers of it, just as they are today."

Mr Kerry said Cop27, held last month in Egypt, moved the world a bit closer to the goal of the 2015 Paris agreement to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels, even as countries dealt with the fall-out of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

He praised the announcement of 30 upgraded national climate plans, along with the summit’s headline agreement on “loss and damage” to help vulnerable countries pay the cost from climate change-driven extreme weather and rising seas, which the US supported after past resistance.

Several governments and environmental organisations criticised Cop27, saying the agreement did not do enough to effectively fight climate change.

Mr Kerry touted the announcement of a $20 billion investment of public and private funds to help Indonesia move away from coal.

He said he was planning "in the not too distant future" to revisit Vietnam, which is negotiating a similar arrangement with the US and G7 partners.

The former secretary of state tested positive for Covid-19 late in the second week of the Egypt summit, forcing him to conduct negotiations by phone instead of in-person during the final 48 hours.

He said his illness cut short what he had hoped could be a US-China joint announcement on reducing methane emissions from the world’s two biggest emitters of the powerful greenhouse gas.

"We ran out of time and then I got sick," Mr Kerry said. "That just sort of terminated our ability to be able to pursue something in those final days.”

He said he expected that in coming months, the two would “continue this conversation” that had been hindered for months by a dispute over Taiwan.

During the summit, China's top climate diplomat Xie Zhenhua dropped in to a ministerial meeting at Mr Kerry's invitation and outlined China’s broad strategy to cut methane emissions.

But Mr Xie stopped short of joining an international pledge to reduce them by 30 per cent this decade.

"I thought he made an important contribution in talking about what China knows it needs to do on methane and we're waiting to see their full program," Mr Kerry said.

Updated: December 07, 2022, 11:39 PM