Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Friends of the Earth's reaction to Sec. Kerry’s climate speech



PARIS, FRANCE - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today at the Paris climate negotiations, in time with the release of preliminary text.

Friends of the Earth U.S. President Erich Pica issued the following response:

There is an irony with Secretary Kerry's announcement that the United States is creating the ‘High Ambition Coalition.’ Countries from around the world had high ambitions for the United States to pursue a climate agreement principled on fair shares, justice and ambitious reductions, based on the principles of common but differentiated responsibility. To date, the United States has not delivered on these ambitions and looks like it we will further undermine these basic tenets through the rest of the talks.

While I appreciate the doubling of U.S. grants for adaptation to more than $800 million by 2020, it is still well below the U.S.’s fair share. Adaptation is going to be costly; by Secretary Kerry’s own estimates, the U.S. has spent $160 billion on climate related losses and damage over the past three years. When you look at the global implications of the climate crisis on the rest of the world, the U.S. commitment of $800 million is a mere drop in the bucket.

Finally, while not mentioned in the speech, we remain concerned that the United States continues to undermine countries’ and communities’ ability to recover damages or losses from the impacts of climate change. The concept of loss and damage is an important mechanism that gives countries the ability to hold polluters accountable. This concept of ‘polluter pays’ has long been enshrined in U.S. law.

Secretary Kerry wants the Paris agreement to be a floor for the future. It will not be stable without a firm commitment to fair shares, justice and common but differentiated responsibility.