The United States is determined to meet its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, despite the recent unfavorable Supreme Court ruling, Biden administration envoy John Kerry told AFP on Friday. for the climate.
“We are determined to achieve our goals. We can achieve them,” he said of these official commitments, the day after a decision by the very conservative American Supreme Court which severely limits the powers of the State. federal government in the fight against global warming.
“Of course it would help us if we had a majority on the Supreme Court of the United States that really understood the seriousness of the situation and would be better able to try to help rather than somehow another, put a spoke in the wheel,” said the senior diplomat.
President Joe Biden, who returned to the Paris climate accord left by his predecessor Donald Trump, announced in April 2021 that the United States would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by by 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 “recite slogans n is not enough”.
John Kerry, who has worked with Beijing officials on the climate despite the rivalry between the two countries, assured that he was “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 “setback” in the fight against climate change, “when we are already far behind in achieving the goals 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 must do” against climate change, however explained John Kerry in an interview with the AFP.
“No one, neither bank nor private lender, is going to finance a new coal-fired power plant in the United States,” he insisted. “Coal is the worst fuel in the world”.
For the rest, “I think the president must think about all the possible options”, he added, while some Democratic parliamentarians are calling 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.
– “Shows the Moon” –
Without a “rapid, radical and most often immediate” reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, it will not be possible to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre- industrial, or even at +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 the climate around the world when the centrality of this issue is debated within the country itself, underlined Ruth Greenspan Bell, an expert on the climate at the of the Woodrow Wilson think tank.
“The times require aiming for the moon, but it’s difficult to aim for the moon when you’re in a defensive position,” she said.
Environmental activists place little hope in an energy bill being debated in Congress, in particular because of the positions of a moderate Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, who defends his state of West Virginia, where many inhabitants make a living from the coal mines.