John Kerry urges top polluters to take action on climate change

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House last year. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House last year. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Presidential envoy John Kerry urged some of the worst contributors to pollution to take action Thursday to address the effects of climate change, particularly in Africa.

Kerry met with Bronwen Maddox, chief executive of the British international affairs think tank Chatham House, ahead of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference. During the meeting, Kerry highlighted the disproportionate impact climate change has on African nations.


"Seventeen out of 20 countries in the world most impacted by the climate crisis are in Africa. Yet, Africa as a whole is only 2.5-3% of all the emissions in the world," Kerry said. "They're not causing this problem."

Kerry said the presidents of Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria told him they were prepared to move forward without drilling for gas and would like to be independent from it, but they do not know the path forward because they lack technology and funding.

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"How do we develop the developing world?" Kerry asked. "We've been falling short grossly. We have to help these countries be able to jumpstart."

Maddox asked Kerry for thoughts were on providing developing countries with loss and damages funding. This subject is expected to be discussed further at COP27, taking place Nov. 6-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The funding means industrialized nations would pay developing nations for the impact climate change has on their country. Many of these countries lack the resources to counter those effects adequately.


"We need to help them with a lot of aspects of their challenge right now, including some of the damage," Kerry said. "If it becomes just sort of liability and compensation -- that's not going to advance the dialogue. The dialogue has to advance around finding ways to address damages. We have to put more into adaptation -- development."

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Kerry said 65% of the world is on board with some type of coordinated mitigation efforts. Some of the largest countries that make up the other 35% include Russia, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and South Africa.

"If we can move those countries, we have a chance," he said. " It's a multilateral, global threat to the planet itself. I believe it needs every voice on the planet to come together to find a way forward."

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