WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Friday that setbacks to President Joe Biden’s climate efforts at home have “slowed the pace” of some of other countries’ commitments to cut fossil fuels. that destroy the climate, but he insisted that the United States would do it. achieve its own ambitious climate goals on time.
Kerry spoke to The Associated Press after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s options for regulating climate pollution from power plants. The decision raised the possibility that the conservative-controlled court could continue to obstruct other executive branch efforts to reduce the country’s coal, oil and gas emissions. It came after Democrats failed to push through what was to be Biden’s climate legislation through a tightly divided Senate.
The Biden administration is now working hard to show domestic and international audiences that the United States can still make meaningful progress on climate 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, triggering ever deadlier droughts, storms, wildfires and other disasters.
Kerry, Biden’s overseas climate negotiator, said he hasn’t spoken to his overseas counterparts since the Supreme Court’s ruling, which some climate scientists called a heartbreak and disaster.
“But I’m sure they’ll ask me questions,” Kerry said. “But my response is going to be look, we’re going to achieve our goals…and the president is going to keep fighting for congressional legislation.”
“We are absolutely confident that we can achieve our goals,” Kerry said.
Biden has pledged to halve the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade and have an emissions-free electricity sector by 2035. Although two Democrats join the Republicans to block what was supposed to have been transformative legislation moving the United States to cleaner energy, Biden managed to free up significant funds for electric charging stations and a few other moves. The EPA has pledged to issue alternative regulations to limit climate damage to the power sector early next year.
Kerry cited continued progress in climate efforts abroad this year, including more governments pledging to cut emissions faster and more signing a U.S.-backed methane pledge targeting leaks, climate-damaging venting and flaring from natural gas industries.
“This Supreme Court decision…is disappointing, but…it doesn’t take away our ability to do a whole bunch of things that we need to do,” Kerry said.
“President Biden has tremendous authority to keep moving forward. We will move forward. I am absolutely confident in our ability to continue to provide global leadership, which we are doing right now.
Kerry also pointed to the progress the United States has made in reducing fossil fuel emissions independent of government efforts, including through electric cars and other market advancements in technology, and clean energy pushes from California and dozens of other states, mostly those led by Democrats. .
Kerry described tax credit legislation to encourage cleaner energy as common sense and doable. He declined to talk about the impact if even those failed to clear Congress.
“I wouldn’t be a morose about it,” he said. “I’m just saying we have to work harder and fight harder.”
Asked if it’s possible to ask China and other big polluters to quickly move away from fossil fuels as the United States struggles to meet some of its own goals, Kerry said: “They will do their own analysis. This will likely have an impact on what they decide to do or not do.
The administration’s failures to secure a major climate retooling through congressional conservatives and the Supreme Court haven’t hurt the momentum it’s working for in climate negotiations overseas, insisted Kerry. “But I think it slowed down the rate at which some of these things could happen,” he said.
“If the United States were able to accomplish more in terms of our own goals, and we did it quickly, that would put a lot of pressure on many countries,” he said.
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