MARRAKESH: A week after climate-change denier Donald Trump’s election to the White House, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday he was “confident” Washington’s climate commitments cannot be reversed “regardless of what policy may be chosen”.
The United States is on its way to meeting its targets under a global climate rescue pact, and “I do not believe that that can or will be reversed,” he said to applause at a UN climate meeting in Marrakesh.
Market forces, not politics, will dictate the world’s energy future, Kerry added.
“That’s why I’m confident for the future regardless of what policy might be chosen, because of the marketplace.”
Trump has called climate change a “hoax” perpetrated by China and has promised to “cancel” the hard-fought Paris Agreement concluded last year to limit dangerous global warming.
The Marrakesh meeting has started drafting a roadmap for putting the agreement’s goals into action, but many fear Trump will make true on his promise to withdraw from the process, destroying political momentum built up over years of tough negotiations.
Kerry said the clear global trend was away from fossil fuels, which emit planet-warming greenhouse gases when burnt, to greener, renewable sources.
“This really is a turning point. It’s a cause for optimism notwithstanding what you see in different countries with respect to politics, change,” said the politician, joking that he would attend the next UN climate meeting, in 2017, as “Citizen Kerry”.
He sought to underline the severity of the peril threatening the world if rapid action is not taken.
“Time is not on our side. The world is already changing at an increasingly alarming rate with increasingly alarming consequences,” said Kerry, who has made the fight against global warming a hallmark of his tenure.
“At some point even the strongest sceptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening.”
And he added: “No-one has the right to make decisions affecting billions of people based solely on ideology without proper input.”