HomeTechnologyKerry: Despite setbacks at home, US will set climate goals

Kerry: Despite setbacks at home, US will set climate goals

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Friday that setbacks in President Joe Biden’s climate efforts at home have “slowed the pace” of some of other countries’ commitments to reduce climate-destroying fossil fuels, but insisted the US still achieve its own ambitious climate goals on time.

Kerry spoke to The Associated Press after a major Supreme Court ruling on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s options to regulate climate pollution from power plants. The ruling raised the possibility that the conservative-controlled court could stymie other efforts by the executive branch to reduce the country’s coal, oil and gas emissions. It came after Democrats failed to get what was to be Biden’s signature climate legislation through the closely divided Senate.

The Biden administration is now striving to show audiences at home and abroad that the US can still make significant climate progress and strike deals with other countries to do the same. Scientists say there are only a few years left to avoid the worst levels of global warming, leading to increasingly deadly droughts, storms, wildfires and other disasters.

Kerry, Biden’s climate negotiator abroad, said he had not spoken to his foreign counterparts since the Supreme Court ruling, which some climate scientists called a gut punch and a disaster.

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“But I trust that they will ask me questions,” Kerry said. “But my response is going to be look, we’re going to meet our goals … and the president is going to keep fighting for the legislation from Congress.”

“We are absolutely convinced that we can achieve our goals,” Kerry said.

Biden pledged to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade and have an emission-free energy sector by 2035. Although two Democrats joined Republicans in blocking what was it was supposed to have been transformative legislation that would move the United States. to cleaner energy, Biden has managed to free up significant funding for electric charging stations and a few other moves. The EPA has committed to publishing an alternative regulation to limit climate damage from the electricity sector early next year.

Kerry cited continued progress on climate efforts abroad this year, including more governments committing to faster emissions cuts and signing a US-backed methane pledge.

“This Supreme Court decision…is disappointing, but…it doesn’t take away our ability to do a lot of things that we need to do,” Kerry said.

“President Biden has tremendous authority to keep moving forward. Let’s move on. I have absolute confidence in our ability to continue to provide leadership globally, which we are doing right now.”

Kerry also pointed to the progress the United States was making in reducing fossil fuel emissions regardless of government efforts, including through electric cars and other market-driven technological advances, and through clean energy initiatives by California and dozens of others. from other states, mostly led by Democrats. .

Kerry described legislation on tax credits to encourage cleaner energy as common sense and doable. He declined to talk about the impact if even those fail to pass Congress.

“I wouldn’t be a pessimist about this,” he said. “I’m just saying we have to work harder and fight harder.”

Asked if it was possible to ask China and other big polluters to make quick moves away from fossil fuels when the US was struggling to meet some of its own targets, Kerry said: “They will do their own analysis. That may have an impact on what they decide to do or not do.”

Kerry insisted that the administration’s setbacks in getting a major climate shakeup through conservatives in Congress and the Supreme Court have not affected the momentum he is working for abroad in climate negotiations. “But I think the rate at which some of these things could happen has slowed down,” he said.

“If the United States could achieve more on our own goals, and we did it quickly, that would put a lot of pressure on a lot of countries,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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