Saturday

20th Aug 2022

Kerry resets climate relations before Glasgow summit

  • John Kerry (l) at the European Commission on Tuesday with president Ursula von der Leyen (Photo: European Union, 2021)

The US and the EU are renewing efforts to fight climate change - amid warnings of disaster if nothing is done.

"Glasgow is the last best opportunity that we have, our best hope," said US climate envoy John Kerry, in reference to the November UN climate summit in Scotland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Kerry made the comments in Brussels on Tuesday (9 March) as part of a broader effort to mend relations with the EU, following years of tension under the previous climate-hostile US administration headed by Donald Trump.

Trump pulled the United States out of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. But Washington has since rejoined under president Joe Biden, sparking hopes among European counterparts of breakthroughs on action to slow climate heating.

Kerry said Paris itself was not far-enough reaching, noting warming would still occur even if everyone applied the agreement.

"This is the moment for countries, common sense, people, to come together and get the job done," he said.

"This decade 2020 to 2030 must be the decade of action," he added, noting the United States will host a summit in April to raise ambitions ahead of Glasgow.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen was pleased.

"It's wonderful to have a good friend back in the European Union and it is wonderful to know that we have a friend again the White House," she said of Kerry, who had been invited to discuss climate at the round table of European Commissioners.

Von der Leyen had also spoken about climate to president Biden on the phone last Friday.

She described that conversation as "music to my ears."

The European Union is hoping to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. It also wants to reduce greenhouse emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030.

"One of the breeding grounds for this pandemic is the loss of biodiversity," von der Leyen also pointed out.

Both the US and EU are banking on new technologies and innovation to help cut emissions.

EU's new 2030 climate target slammed on 'accounting trick'

The EU's updated 2030 climate-target plan, due to be presented by the European Commission, have been criticised for including land and forest carbon sinks in its emissions-reduction goal. Green groups describe it as an "accounting trick".

Stakeholder

Dialogue and action – Nordic cooperation and view on COP26

Nordic countries launched several initiatives at the COP26 climate conference which will have a real impact on the ground. Nordic and UK pension funds are to invest billions in clean energy and climate initiatives. Greenland has joined the Paris Agreement.

Analysis

2030? Fine. 2040? Great. 2050? Even better. Now? Too difficult

Leaders of the world's biggest economies recently renewed their climate commitments. But climate targets decades into the future, with a belief in tech-induced salvation, minimise the sense of urgency needed now to reduce emissions.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us