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US Envoy John Kerry Says COP26 Puts Us ‘Closer to Avoiding’ Global Climate Crisis

US Envoy John Kerry Says COP26 Puts Us ‘Closer to Avoiding’ Global Climate Crisis

US climate envoy John Kerry said the world is now closer than it has ever been to the goal of limiting rising global temperatures.

After the COP26 negotiations ended in Glasgow, Kerry said: “We are in fact closer than we have ever been before to avoiding climate chaos and securing cleaner air, safer water, and a healthier planet.”

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At Glasgow, nearly 200 countries agreed to keep pursuing the goal of limiting temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. But they recognized that the commitments made at the fortnight-long Cop26 were inadequate to the task, and resolved to return to the negotiating table next year.

Kerry also warned that COP26 was “not the finish line”, and was never going to be. Nations would still have much more work to do on their emissions-cutting goals to ensure the proposed limits were viable. He said there had been “a very aggressive increasing of ambition” by many countries, in terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but that much more needed to be done.

Kerry said, “Thanks to the work here in Glasgow, the goals we are setting ourselves are much, much closer. And we will come even closer if we implement and follow through [on the deal agreed] … As we leave Glasgow, our code word is going to be implementation, follow-up, and follow-through.”

Kerry said there had been “a very aggressive increasing of ambition” by many countries, in terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but that much more needed to be done.

He quoted the International Energy Agency estimate that if all the current long-term commitments were fully followed through, the world would limit heating to 1.8C in the long term. But he stressed that there was a gap between those long-term ambitions and countries’ crucial short-term targets for 2030, which would result in heating of 2.4C, and so countries needed to do more.

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