Despite interim US polls, Biden sticks to climate goals: John Kerry

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John Kerry spoke on the sidelines of the UN COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt:

The United States tried to reassure the UN climate summit in Egypt on Tuesday that it will stick to its energy transition even if Republicans win in the midterm elections.

The COP27 talks were dominated by calls for richer countries to step up their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fulfill commitments to financially help poorer countries green their economies.

Developing countries devastated by natural disasters have called for a windfall tax on oil companies’ profits and demanded that wealthy polluters compensate them for the damage caused by their emissions.

But the US midterm elections also loomed high at the summit, as President Joe Biden’s Democrats face an uphill battle to retain their majority in Congress against Republicans, who are less favorable to international climate action.

A Republican victory could be a boon to the ambitions of former President Donald Trump, who is expected to make another bid for the White House.

Trump had pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Biden returned the United States to the pact on his first day in office in 2020.

The “climate crisis doesn’t just threaten our infrastructure, economy and security – it threatens every aspect of our lives every day,” Kerry said on the sidelines of the summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

He said that even if Democrats lose the election, “President Biden is more determined than ever to carry on with what we are doing.”

“And most of what we do can’t be changed by someone else coming along,” Kerry said. “The market has made the decision to do what we need to do to respond to the climate crisis.”

Biden took a big win earlier this year when Congress passed the “Inflation Reduction Act,” which will see huge spending on green energy initiatives.

Some 100 world leaders attended the summit on Monday and Tuesday, but Biden will not come until Friday after the midterms. He then goes to Cambodia for the annual US-ASEAN summit and then to Indonesia for a G20 summit.

profit tax on oil

The first day of the summit was marked by dire warnings from UN chief Antonio Guterres, who told COP27 that humanity faces a stark choice: “cooperate or perish”.

Nations around the world are dealing with increasingly intense natural disasters that have claimed thousands of lives and cost billions of dollars this year.

They range from devastating floods in Nigeria and Pakistan to droughts in the United States and several African countries, as well as unprecedented heat waves on three continents.

Countries are under pressure to ramp up their emissions reduction efforts to meet the ambitious goal of preventing temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

A UN-backed report said on Tuesday that developing countries and emerging economies, excluding China, will need investments of more than $2 trillion a year by 2030 if the world is to stop global warming and cope with its consequences. .

One after another, developing country leaders called for the creation of a “loss and damage” fund that would compensate them for the destruction caused by natural disasters, arguing that rich countries are responsible for most of the emissions the harm the planet.

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, spoke on behalf of a group of small island nations threatened by rising sea levels and tropical storms.

“As they take advantage, the planet is on fire,” Browne told fellow leaders.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday called for a 10 percent tax on oil companies to finance losses and damages.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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