US Climate Envoy John Kerry spoke in London on Thursday ahead of next week’s climate summit in Glasgow, saying that tackling the climate crisis is the only option, and the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of taking action.
Kerry said the effects of climate change are being felt now. He said, “The planet is already at its hottest and least stable point in 125,000 years, and people are dying because of it.” He said that some of the consequences are already irreversible.
“Does everyone in the world fully agree on what science thinks we must do to avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis?” he asked. “In a nutshell: not yet. But more countries than ever before are stepping up their efforts. “
The 26th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow opens on Sunday. Many environmental activists, policymakers and academics say the meeting is critical to securing concrete commitments to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
The agreement aims to reduce carbon emissions to contain rising global temperatures, helping countries adapt to a changing climate.
Kerry, speaking at the London School of Economics, stressed that all science and mathematics show that the cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of taking action. He cited numerous studies showing the market opportunities for a green economy.
But he said the gap still exists, and much of the responsibility for bridging it lies with the world’s top 20 economies, “all of which are responsible for 80 percent of all emissions.”
Kerry said that in order to prevent a climate catastrophe, scientists say the world must cut global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 in order to reach zero by 2050. He said, “In this context, we are heading to Glasgow, and I am going to Glasgow, optimist.”
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.