The United States’ climate envoy, John Kerry, said Monday that the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow had opened a new phase of “responsibility” in the world battle against climate change.
Nearly 200 countries signed an agreement on Saturday to halt global warming after two weeks of painful negotiations, but failed to achieve what scientists say is needed to curb dangerous growth.
Speaking at an environmental conference in Paris, Kerry said he was “slightly shocked” by the negative media reports about the outcome of the Glasgow meeting, calling them “cataclysmic” and showing a lack of understanding of the process. of COP.
“No one expected the issue to disappear in Glasgow. “No one thought Glasgow would delete it,” he said.
But the conference had opened a “new era of accountability” that will now be carried over to the next COP meeting in Egypt next year, he said.
Participants had created “a clear path with rules, with demands for transparency,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, host of the COP, hailed the conference deal as “truly historic” on Sunday, adding that his joy was “tinged with disappointment” because not all countries agreed to give up hydrocarbons.
But Kerry said “ambition is higher than anyone thought it could be.”
He said that “a whole group of countries that were not willing to do anything are now growing to do real things.”
He said the alternative to the deal reached was “to leave Glasgow with nothing”.
Kerry said large financial investments were now needed to curb climate change, including new technology, which he said was a “critical component” in the battle to limit global warming.
But given that “no country in the world has enough money to do this,” Kerry said, “the only way to get enough funding is to bring the private sector to the table in a massive way, and that started to happen clearly.” in Glasgow ”. .
Kerry said the plans of large financial institutions and large industrial companies for climate-friendly investments had already reached unprecedented levels.
“For the first time ever, we really have trillions of dollars in climate investment,” Kerry said.
Future benefits also included “a safer, healthier, and cleaner world in which our children and grandchildren can inherit something that fits our moral obligation,” Kerry said.
Scientists have already warned that the agreements reached under the “Glasgow Pact” will not result in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the most ambitious target of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
But it was the first time after 25 previous conferences that the words “fossil fuels” and “coal” – the main culprits of global warming – have entered the final text.