U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry – COP27 Closing Statement

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry
COP27 Closing Statement
In Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

November 20, 2022

We extend our thanks to the Egyptian presidency, and to all the Egyptian people, for the incredible work of hosting COP27 and for their very warm welcome here in Sharm el-Sheikh – a remarkable place that radiates both the wonder and the fragility of our one common home, this magnificent planet Earth.

Almost two years ago this very week, President-elect Biden asked me to be his special envoy for climate. It was a perilous moment. The world was rushing toward climate chaos. Any hope of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius was slipping further and further away.

We’ve been sprinting to make up for lost time ever since – starting on day one, when President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, and with our updated nationally determined contribution. It’s been full steam ahead to confront the climate crisis – both at home, and in partnership around the world.

One year ago, we left COP26 in Glasgow with nations representing 65 percent of global GDP committed to 2030 targets in line with 1.5℃. The International Energy Agency calculated that if all the commitments and initiatives put forward by Glasgow were fully implemented, we could limit warming to 1.8 degrees.

One year later, as we depart Sharm el-Sheikh, the IEA now tells us that if the new commitments and actions announced here are fully implemented, we can limit warming to 1.7 degrees. That’s a journey – from well over 2 degrees to 1.8 to now 1.7 – that we can be proud of, even as we recognize we are just getting started. But make no mistake: we have kept the hope of 1.5 alive. How? By implementing real projects and deploying real dollars to accelerate the energy transition, which enables us to further enhance global ambition.

Over the course of this year, more than 30 countries have heeded the call from Glasgow and strengthened their 2030 targets. In Australia, a new government elected with a climate mandate committed to a 1.5-aligned target. We’ve seen an energetic presence here in Sharm el-Sheikh from Brazil’s incoming administration, which is committed to climate action. In other words, two of the planet’s biggest outliers this year have become global leaders.

They’re not alone. Last week, Foreign Secretary Ebrard flew here to announce that Mexico is significantly strengthening its 2030 target and plans to double its renewable energy capacity in order to meet it. Alongside the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia committed to peak its power sector emissions seven years earlier, by 2030, with a goal of net zero by 2050. Our host country, Egypt, committed to strengthen its 2030 target and quadruple its renewable energy capacity.

For our part, as President Biden underscored in his address here last week, the Inflation Reduction Act puts the United States firmly on track to meeting our ambitious goal of reducing emissions 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030.

What’s more, our historic investments in clean energy and infrastructure will help countries deliver stronger climate ambition anywhere by driving down the cost of clean technologies everywhere.

We are partnering with nations on an array of initiatives to drive action in this critical decade.

150 countries – fully three-quarters of the nations of the world – have now joined us in the Global Methane Pledge, to slash global methane emissions 30 percent by 2030. Over 95 percent of countries will include methane in their 2030 NDC targets. Tackling methane is the fastest, most effective way to reduce near-term warming and keep 1.5℃ within reach.

Along with Ghana, the United States is co-chairing the new Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership, which will make Glasgow’s forest declaration a reality. By halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation, we can deliver up to 30 percent of the emissions reductions needed to meet our Paris goals.

Along with Norway, we launched the Green Shipping Challenge, with countries, ports, and companies announcing more than 40 major steps aimed at decarbonizing international shipping.

Along with other countries, we launched the Global Fertilizer Challenge, together committing $135 million to help low- and middle-income countries cope with the global fertilizer shortages exacerbated by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The result will be both lower emissions and increased food security.
Working with governments and the private sector, we are accelerating the technologies needed to reach net zero, from hydrogen to biomass.

Our First Movers Coalition now includes 65 companies committing $12 billion toward zero-emission shipping and trucking and the purchase of clean steel, aluminum, cement, and aviation fuels.

We are partnering with Ukraine to demonstrate the use of advanced nuclear technology to produce clean hydrogen and ammonia; and with other countries in Central and Eastern Europe to convert coal-fired power plants to small modular nuclear reactors.

Michael Bloomberg joined me in announcing the launch of SCALE, the Subnational Climate Action Leaders’ Exchange, which will help cities, states and regions reach net zero and strengthen their climate resilience.

Working with Amazon, we launched a new Climate Gender Equity Fund to help women-led organizations in developing countries deliver climate solutions. Working with Conservation International, we launched the Indigenous Peoples Finance Access Facility to help Indigenous peoples and local communities more readily access climate finance.

We also highlighted the key role of ocean-based climate. We announced the first slate of countries – 16 altogether – to endorse the Ocean Conservation Pledge, with commitments to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of ocean waters under their jurisdictions by 2030.

Each of these new country commitments – each of these partnerships – brings us a step closer to keeping 1.5℃ within reach.

Coming out of Glasgow, it was 1.8. Coming out of Sharm, it is 1.7. And in the all too real world of climate science, that math matters when you focus on the faces of the fractions: every tenth of a degree of warming averted means less drought, less flooding, less sea-level rise, less extreme weather. It means lives saved and losses avoided.

Fulfilling these commitments, of course, requires finance, and the United States and our partner governments are stepping up.

Indonesia’s new commitment to an accelerated clean energy transition was made possible because the United States and partner countries have pledged $10 billion through a Just Energy Transition Partnership that will leverage an additional $10 billion in private finance.

Egypt’s new commitment to shut down natural gas plants and scale up renewables was made possible because Germany and the United States committed $250 million to support Egypt’s Country Platform for the Nexus of Food, Water, and Energy – or NWFE. Our support will help unlock $10 billion in commercial investments.

And global philanthropies have pledged half a billion dollars to replicate these energy transition models around the world – driving enhanced implementation and enhanced ambition.

Contributor countries and public funds can’t do the job alone. We need a massive infusion of private capital.

That is why the United States, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Bezos Earth Fund have introduced the concept of an Energy Transition Accelerator to catalyze private capital that will speed the transition from dirty to clean power in developing countries. Over the coming year, we’ll engage with governments, companies, and civil society – all the relevant stakeholders – to build in strong guardrails ensuring both a just transition and full environmental integrity.

As we work to reduce emissions and avert the consequences of runaway warming, we also must help vulnerable countries cope with the impacts they are experiencing today and will in the future.

Last week, President Biden took major new steps under his Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, which aims to help more than half a billion people in developing countries adapt to and manage the impacts of climate change.

The President announced a doubling of our pledge to the Adaptation Fund to $100 million. He also announced more than $150 million in new funding to accelerate adaptation efforts across Africa, resources that will help expand early warning systems to reduce impacts and save lives; help establish Egypt’s new Cairo Center for Learning and Excellence on Adaptation and Resilience; help vulnerable countries access climate risk insurance and adaptation finance; and help improve food security through climate-resilient agriculture.

We launched new programs to mobilize private sector action and finance supporting adaptation efforts. And we responded to the UN Secretary General’s call for Early Warning for All by committing more than $40 million help close the early warning gap, including new resources for small island states in the Pacific.
To help countries manage loss and damage, we contributed $24 million to the Global Shield Against Climate Risks, and an additional $20 million to two UN funds that provide humanitarian relief and help protect migrants, with a particular focus on climate change.

We are also pleased to join vulnerable countries in one of the major outcomes here in Sharm – a decision to establish funding arrangements related to loss and damage, including a fund as part of what many are calling a “mosaic” of responses.
I am glad we have had discussions on climate with China here at Sharm el-Sheikh, following President Biden and President Xi’s meeting in Bali. Due to the compressed time for our negotiations, we unfortunately were able to make only limited progress here in Sharm.

But we are back at the table to try and follow through on, and build upon, our mutual commitments in the Joint Glasgow Declaration, including China’s commitments on phasing down coal consumption, taking action to reduce methane emissions in the 2020s, and addressing illegal deforestation.

I was pleased that Special Envoy Xie Zhenhua attended our Global Methane Pledge event to provide an update on the methane action plan that China pledged to prepare this year. We look forward to seeing the plan soon. I hope that China will build upon this step to ensure its NDC addresses all greenhouse gases, particularly methane, and will align its 2030 target with the Paris temperature goal.

As I’ve said before, the climate crisis is fundamentally a global, not a bilateral, issue. Reducing emissions in time is about math, not ideology. That’s why all nations have a stake in the choices China makes in this critical decade. The United States and China should be able to accelerate progress together, not only for our sake, but for future generations. And we are all hopeful that China will live up to its global responsibility.

As we leave Sharm el-Sheikh, our priorities on the road ahead are clear.

First, we must continue pressing for all major economies to align their 2030 targets with 1.5℃, and to fulfill those targets by halting the construction of new coal, accelerating the deployment of clean energy, slashing methane emissions, and halting deforestation.

Second, to deliver finance for climate action at scale, we must press forward to evolve the multilateral development banks for the 21st century. We can unlock hundreds of billions of dollars. The MDBs have already stepped up their work to help countries transition their economies and we need to make sure their operational models are fit for purpose to tackle this crisis.

Finally, we must work closely with the United Arab Emirates, which will host COP 28, to ensure that that the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement produces a meaningful outcome setting the stage for even greater climate ambition in the years ahead.

I want to extend a special thanks to our U.S. team for their incredible hard work. Across the board, I am extraordinarily grateful for these outstanding public servants, who have worked with me at breakneck speed for two years now, and many of whom were colleagues when I was in the Senate and served as Secretary. I hope they all get to catch their breath at Thanksgiving and finally see their loved ones.

I also want to thank my colleagues and partners around the world for their commitment, and the global community of activists and NGOs and academics and young people who continue to raise their voices to demand climate action in this critical decade.