John Kerry has described the global climate crisis as an “unbelievable monument to the need for multilateralism” and urged China to “assume responsibility” for its part.
Mr Kerry, America’s first ever climate envoy, signed the Paris Agreement in 2016 on behalf of the US, and has said that “failure is not an option” when it comes to fulfilling its aims.
The accord is a legally-binding international treaty, then adopted by 197 countries at a summit in the French capital, which has a goal of limiting global warming to well below 2C, and preferably 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Donald Trump pulled America out of the agreement when he was president but current commander-in-chief, Joe Biden, re-signed as one of his first acts in office earlier this year.
Speaking to Sky News ahead of a visit to China, Mr Kerry said bluntly: “This is not a moment where any nation cannot step up to raise the ambition that Paris envisioned.”
He said he had regular talks with his Chinese counterpart on the issue.
“We recognise that China, with nearly 30% of the world’s emissions, is essential to resolving this crisis and our hopes are that China is prepared to assume responsibly – as we are, and as other nations are.”
He added: “No one country, no one entity, like the EU, can solve the problem
“This is an unbelievable monument – the climate crisis – to the need for multilateralism.”
The already-postponed COP26 climate conference is being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in November and Mr Kerry described the event as the world’s “last, best opportunity to get real” on the climate.
Globally, there needs to be a 45% reduction in emissions over the next 10 years to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels but the world is not currently on track to meet that.
Sky News has the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.
Hosted by Anna Jones, The Daily Climate Show is following Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.
The show will also highlight solutions to the crisis and show how small changes can make a big difference.