US wants periodic climate review

Kerry cites Chennai floods as example of frequent climate disasters.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:34 pm IST

Published - December 10, 2015 04:44 am IST - PARIS

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bows as he attends the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry bows as he attends the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

In an unambiguous message to all countries on climate action, the United States said on Wednesday that they could not get away with doing nothing or next to nothing after making pledges, though the Paris Agreement did not propose penalties.

Secretary of State John Kerry praised India for its forward-thinking International Solar Alliance that had the capacity to produce technological breakthroughs and drive progress, but he said carbon pollution knew no origin, whether it arose from “Baltimore, Beijing, Calcutta or Cape Town”.

The Paris Agreement held great promise since it relied on verifiable voluntary steps, rather than a fixed percentage of cuts which the Kyoto Protocol contained.

Mr. Kerry cited the Chennai floods as an example of climate disasters happening more frequently now. About 300 people perished, including “18 in a hospital where the generator was flooded, affecting oxygen supply”.

The key messages in Mr. Kerry’s address to an invited audience at CoP21, before the base text for the 195 countries was released, were — the U.S. recognised the differentiated responsibilities of countries and was willing to provide more in financing, including its own funds, and work with the World Bank and other institutions, though the real driver would be private capital in a clean economy; national pledges made in Paris should be reviewed in five years because progress would change national circumstances; investments in clean energy were actually cheaper because of avoided costs on environmental degradation and public health.

The U.S. would double its public grant based climate finance by 2020, he announced.

India remains firm India maintained its bargaining position, calling upon the developed countries to decide who was to “switch the light off first”, when it comes to carbon emissions cuts.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, when asked by a journalist whether India was ready to adopt 1.5 degrees as its ambition for future rise in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels, retorted: “The developed countries must define who will switch off the lights first.”

On the question of a five-year review of India’s INDC after 2020, the Minister said the Indian pledge was for the period until 2030 and others who wished to update it earlier could do so voluntarily.

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