John Kerry says ‘money, money, money’ is most needed to tackle climate change

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John Kerry photographed at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 17, 2023.

Fabrice Cofrini | UKTN | Getty Images

The world will eventually move to a low-carbon economy, but according to John Kerry it may be too late to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday morning, the US presidential special envoy for climate issued a stark warning for the years to come.

“I am convinced that we will achieve a low-carbon, zero-carbon economy — we are going to get there because we have to,” he said.

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“I am not convinced that we will get there in time to do what the scientists said, which is to avoid the worst consequences of the crisis,” he added.

And those worst consequences will affect millions of people around the world, [in] Africa and other places. Of the 20 most affected countries in the world [the] climate crisis, 17 are in Africa.”

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In his remarks, Kerry also spoke about the task of keeping alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“So, how do we get there? Well, the lesson I’ve learned over the years and learned as secretary [of State] and I’ve learned since then, reinforced with spades, it’s money, money, money, money, money, money, money. And I’m sorry to have to say that.”

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The 1.5 degree target is enshrined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, an agreement that aims to “limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre industrial levels.”

Reducing man-made carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 is seen as key to meeting the 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

In recent years, many multinationals have announced zero percent pledges.

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While such commitments attract attention, actually realizing them is a daunting task with significant financial and logistical hurdles. The devil is in the details and goals can often be light on the latter.

Kerry addressed the subject in his speech. “Let’s be honest, [a] very many companies in the world have chosen to say, ‘I’m going to be net zero by 2050,'” he said.

“And you and I, we know they have no idea how they’re going to get there. And most of them are not on track to get there.”

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