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Climate One

Monday, July 27 at 2:00 pm

John Kerry: The Global Dynamics Of Decarbonization

What will it take to get the world’s major economies off fossil fuels? In late 2019, former US senator and secretary of state John Kerry, declared a World War Zero on carbon pollution.

“It’s really putting the nation on a war footing to avoid the next pandemic which will be exacerbated by the climate crisis, and the way to get ahead of it is to prepare and make the decisions now,” says Kerry. “The long-term energy future of America is not going to be written in fossil fuels”

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 7.5% in 2020 — exactly the rate needed globally to meet the climate goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. But can other major emitters like China and Europe make plans to decarbonize at the same rate without throwing their economies over a cliff?

“You really can't make any progress on climate without China making an effort,” says Justin Wu, Head of Asia-Pacific, at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. 

“China basically has hit some of the climate goals it announced a few years ago, including the ones that were part of the Paris agreement,” Wu explains, “but so far hasn't announced any new goals yet.  So we’re still waiting to see whether it has something more ambitious in store.”

Meanwhile, in December 2019 European Union announced a $1 trillion green deal aimed at transforming the 27 member economies to higher quality of life and lower carbon emissions.

“In Europe we are only now catching up with China,” says Julia Poliscanova, Senior Director of Vehicles & E-mobility at the Brussels-based advocacy group Transport & Environment, “so we will see.  The race is on, that’s for sure and we see Europe catching up.”

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