John Kerry praises German climate policy

The former foreign minister is impressed by how quickly the federal government followed the constitutional court. And he appeals: In order to stop global warming, “Glasgow” urgently needs to be a success.

The US special envoy for climate protection, John Kerry, with the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin.

Dhe US government’s climate commissioner, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, has praised the tightening of German emissions targets following the Federal Constitutional Court’s climate decision. “I was very impressed by the short period of time between the judgment of the Constitutional Court and the reassessment and the new obligations by the federal government,” said Kerry on Tuesday at a press conference in Berlin.

The new Berlin goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030 instead of the previously planned 55 percent compared to 1990 is “a great effort,” said Kerry. Germany has always been a “solid partner” when it comes to financing issues relating to climate protection, praised President Joe Biden’s special envoy. However, he also pointed out the challenges of the tightened reduction targets that German business representatives had brought to him. The industry wants to make its contribution, but needs “solid cooperative efforts on all fronts in order to achieve the goals”.

US President Biden wants to revive America’s environmental ambitions after Washington withdrew from the Paris climate agreement under his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden has reversed the move, announcing the US wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 50 to 52 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. A month ago the new president invited the world’s largest emitters to a virtual summit in order to prepare for the world climate conference planned for November in Glasgow, Scotland, and to reaffirm the goals agreed in Paris. Among other things, they provide for global warming to be limited to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial age, but in any case to significantly less than 2 degrees.

“The world is facing a gigantic challenge”

In Berlin, Kerry portrayed the situation as dramatic. At the same time, however, he spread the hope that the fight against climate change could succeed if one agreed in Glasgow on sharp, binding reduction targets for as many countries as possible. “The world is facing a gigantic but surmountable challenge,” he said. “But it can only be overcome if we make very big decisions and implement them appropriately over the next ten years.”

Kerry recalled that since the first UN Climate Change Conference in 1992 he had attended many of these meetings, called COP, and that the forthcoming “COP 26” was of crucial importance: “Glasgow is really the best opportunity, the best hope, I would say the last best hope so that we get on the path to achieve our goals. ”In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) determined that the international community only had 12 years to avert the worst effects of the climate crisis. Regarding Trump’s tenure, he said, “We lost three of those years to a president who ignored science, facts and evidence.”

Even under Trump, 37 states with 80 percent of the American population would have continued to adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement. “Because of this, we may not be as guilty as some people think. But we have lost momentum and money. ”In this context, the 77-year-old mentioned the pledge made in Copenhagen in 2009, but not yet kept, by the industrialized countries to provide 100 billion dollars a year from public and private sources for climate protection in developing countries by 2020.