The United States remains committed to meeting its climate targets



“We are determined to achieve our goals. We can reach them”, said John Kerry about American commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the day after a decision by the very conservative American Supreme Court. This strongly limits the powers of the federal state in the fight against global warming.

“Of course, it would help us if we had a majority on the United States Supreme Court that really understood the seriousness of the situation and would be better able to try to help rather than somehow another, to put a spoke in the wheels »said the top diplomat, emissary of the administration of Joe Biden for the climate.

Paris Agreement

The US president, who re-entered the Paris climate accord left by his predecessor Donald Trump, announced in April 2021 that the US would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by to 2030, compared to 2005.

Joe Biden submitted these new commitments to the UN in order to get closer to the objectives of the Paris agreement of 2015, where John Kerry was at the maneuver as head of diplomacy for Barack Obama.

On Friday, China, the world’s largest emitter, called for each country to stick to the commitments of the Paris agreement, a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy adding, about the United States, that “Reciting slogans is not enough”. John Kerry, who has worked with Beijing officials on climate despite the rivalry between the two countries, said he was not “not surprised by the message” of the Asian giant. “We are going to show China precisely how we will get there”added John Kerry.

Coal

The spokesman for the UN secretary-general said on Thursday that the Supreme Court’s decision was a “recoil” in the fight against climate change, “while we are already very behind in achieving the objectives of the Paris agreement”.

On Thursday, the nation’s highest court ruled that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could not enact blanket rules to regulate emissions from coal-fired power plants, which produce nearly 20% of the electricity in the United States.

“I am convinced – and our lawyers are looking at this more closely – that this decision leaves enough leeway to do a lot of things that we need to do” against climate change, however, explained John Kerry in an interview with AFP.

“Nobody, neither bank nor private lender, is going to finance a new coal plant in the United States”he hammered. “Coal is the worst fuel in the world”. For the sequel, “I think the president needs to think about all possible options”, he added, as some Democratic lawmakers call on the president to declare a state of climate emergency. On Friday, however, the Biden administration paved the way for new hydrocarbon exploitation permits in the country.

Stakes

Without a discount “fast, radical and most often immediate” greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, it will not be possible to limit warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era, or even to +2°C, warned the UN climate experts (IPCC) in their report published in April.

The States have nevertheless committed themselves to it by signing the Paris agreement but they are not yet up to the challenge, while a warming of +1.1°C already makes “very vulnerable” half of humanity, hit by increasing heat waves, droughts, storms and floods.

It is difficult for the United States to show leadership on climate around the world when the centrality of this issue is debated within the country itself, underlined Ruth Greenspan Bell, an expert on climate at the of the Woodrow Wilson think tank.

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