USA won't return to 'Trumpism' on climate, says Kerry

27 April 2021

"The return of someone who denies facts, denies truth, denies evidence, denies science" will not be able to reverse the USA's commitment to addressing climate change, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said today at the Foreign Policy Virtual Climate Summit. Kerry was interviewed by Foreign Policy Editor-in-Chief Ravi Agrawal, who said many leaders around the world were concerned that the return to office of Donald Trump - or 'Trumpism' - could mean Washington would once again pull out of the Paris Agreement.

The USA has pledged to cut its CO2 emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. US President Joe Biden announced the target at the Leaders Summit on Climate that he hosted on 22 and 23 April to encourage increased ambition in combatting climate change.

In a pre-recorded interview broadcast today, Agrawal asked Kerry: "How do you reassure leaders who worry about the extent of America's commitment?"

Kerry said there are two things he tells leaders with that concern.

"One is, even while Donald Trump was in office over four years and even while he pulled out of the Paris Agreement, the fact is that 24 governors in the United States and the District of Columbia stayed [committed to] the Paris Agreement. And those 24 governors and the District of Columbia represent 80% of the population of our country. They have renewable portfolio laws, which they executed. And they did. And we reduced our emissions by about 21% during that period of time. And more than a thousand mayors in America all stayed in the Paris Agreement even while Trump was out. So I don't think the return of someone who denies facts, denies truth, denies evidence, denies science, I don't think that’s going to move America now at this point.

"Secondly, and I think this is the far more powerful argument, when you have trillions of dollars that are being invested in these new technologies and moving into this new energy marketplace, that's going to be such a powerful job creator and such a powerful moneymaker. There will be so much investment moving in that direction, which is why you have this USD4.15 trillion set aside to go into climate investment. And it'll be more than that."

During the Leaders Summit on Climate, Kerry moderated the session Investing in Climate Solutions, which included the heads of the US Treasury, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Green Climate Fund, Citigroup, the European Council and the African Development Bank, among others. Opening that session, Kerry said finance must be mobilised at "an absolutely unprecedented level" if a net-zero economy is to be created as rapidly as required, and that the magnitude of this challenge means that governments alone "cannot possibly" find all the necessary investment.

He told Agrawal: "I guarantee you, many of those bank CEOs told me that that's sort of a floor for them. They're confident they'll do more, but they didn't want to announce any more. So we're going to see the marketplace firmly setting a course for the new energy future, for the new products. And no politician could come along and pull people away from the good jobs, the good salaries, and the money being made. It's not going to happen. I'm absolutely convinced of that."

The full transcript of the interview is here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News