Kerry calls on wealthy nations to ‘step up’ to move away from fossil fuels

Kerry calls on wealthy nations to ‘step up’ to move away from fossil fuels

The world’s wealthier countries need to “step up” to help poorer nations transition away from fossil fuels and adapt to the impact of climate change, US envoy John Kerry has said.

Speaking ahead of the Cop27 international summit in Egypt, Mr Kerry said the greatest responsibility lay with those countries which have been the biggest users of fossil fuels.

“Obviously those countries with greater means across the board – and that includes some developing countries that have greater means – need to also step up and help in this transition,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“We don’t view it – and we’re not going to view it – as compensation. We are going to view it as our efforts to try to help countries to adapt, to be able to become more resilient and obviously address the challenges that they face as a result of the losses and damages.

The King speaks with, John Kerry and Cop26 President, Alok Sharma during a reception at Buckingham Palace
The King speaks with John Kerry and Cop26 president Alok Sharma during a reception at Buckingham Palace (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“You have to work out the methodology by which you are going to assign a process that works for everybody.”

Wealthy nations have long promised to find 100 billion dollars (£87.9 billion) a year in climate finance for poor nations, with the target originally meant to have been hit in 2020.

It was first promised in 2009 but has never been accomplished. A report last year suggested it would not come to fruition until 2023.

Mr Kerry said that while it should be possible to reach agreement at the gathering at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, the war in Ukraine had complicated the issue.

“There are people within the fossil fuel industry who are using the crisis in Ukraine, frankly, as leverage to be able to say ‘We need to be pumping a lot more. We’re moving much too fast’. It’s just not true, it’s not an accurate narrative.”

Mr Kerry said, however, that countries were realising they needed to reduce their dependence on oil and gas as a source of energy.

Cop26 – Glasgow
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said the world is approaching ‘tipping points’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Many countries in Europe – most of them in fact – have applied the lesson of this war, which is don’t allow a petro-dictator to hold you hostage to energy, don’t let them weaponise it against you,” he said.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres warned the world is “doomed” unless nations gathered in Egypt are able to reach agreement.

“There is no way we can avoid a catastrophic situation, if the two [the developed and developing world] are not able to establish a historic pact,” he told the Guardian.

He said the the world is approaching “tipping points” that will “make climate breakdown irreversible”.

“As we are approaching those tipping points, we need to increase the urgency, we need to increase the ambition and we need to rebuild trust, mainly trust between north and south,” he said.

“Because at the present level, we will be doomed. Present policies will be absolutely catastrophic.”

On Friday, Rishi Sunak spoke at a Cop27 reception hosted by the King in anticipation of the conference.

The Prime Minister is attending the event in Egypt next week after a U-turn but Charles will miss the event.

Speaking at a reception staged in the Buckingham Palace ballroom on Friday, Mr Sunak said: “As recent events have shown, delivering on the promise of Glasgow is more important than ever.

“If we do not act today, we will risk leaving an ever more desperate inheritance for our children.”