20 Jul 2021

Climate Crisis: John Kerry says next 100 days could ‘save many lives’ ahead of COP 26

The next 100 days could “save many lives [and] trillions of dollars”, the US special envoy for climate John Kerry said in an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News looking ahead to the COP 26 UN climate conference.

The former US secretary of state told this programme decisions made between today and the meeting in November could “set the planet on a path that helps” to resolve the climate crisis.

He said: “The planet’s future will be determined by the choices we make now and I have children and grandchildren and that’s a pretty personal stake.”

Reacting to a report that global greenhouse gas emissions could hit record levels by 2023, Mr Kerry said: “We can’t do that. So you have got to pull the chord here somewhere, rip the band aid off, and you can do it without upsetting your economy.”

A majority of the world’s governments have signed up to the Paris Agreement where they committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

A report by the International Energy Agency, which works with countries to shape energy policies, states that to reach that target new oil and gas fields should not be approved for development beyond those already committed to as of 2021.

Plans to give a green light to the new Cambo oil field off the coast of the Shetland Islands are currently being considered in the UK.

Asked what he thought of this, Mr Kerry said: “We need to transition in the next 10 years, not extend.”

President Joe Biden’s administration has been accused of issuing more new drilling licences than the previous administration.

Mr Kerry said: “The president has taken major steps, for instance, he has set a goal that by 2035 we will be absolutely carbon-free in our power sector.”

The UK is due to host the COP26 meeting in Glasgow on the 1st of November.