Climate is already a major driver of migration and displacement, with 30m people internally displaced in 2020 alone and growing, according to First US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry.
He added during his speech, which was given in a press conference at the Tahrir Campus of the American University on Cairo on Monday, that the impacts of climate change threaten global security.
Furthermore, Kerry mentioned that the world was appropriately focused on following the situation in Ukraine, but today he is here in Egypt to talk about another threat, a real threat to the planet as a whole, which is climate change.
He also praised the significant progress achieved in Glasgow at last year’s United Nations’ Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP 26), mentioning that Glasgow produced unprecedented private sector commitments to action. It also identified trillions of dollars of investment available for the energy transition provided.
“We are taking the right steps to actually deploy these dollars, provided that the government’s put in place incentives for the transparency and accountability required to create confidence,” Kerry said.
“We did come out of Glasgow with momentum. Momentum, if countries put commitments into action. Momentum, if outlier countries intended to strengthen their commitments and do so in the months ahead. Momentum, if they have signed a pledge to reduce methane by 30% globally. Momentum, if the private sector follows through on the historic commitments made in Glasgow. And momentum, if the first ever global consensus on phasing down coal and fossil fuel subsidies actually leads to the biggest energy transformation since the industrial revolution.”
He stressed that momentum has never been a guarantee, adding that it is a gift of opportunity and that it is up to us to make the most of this opportunity.
“Now we often hear concerns about the costs and difficulties of acting on climate. last year, in the United States alone, extreme weather cost almost 700 lives and more than $145bn… I remember when we spent $265m to clean up after three storms,” he added.
He stressed that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate crisis, we must limit the global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is already at 1.2 degrees.
“Unfortunately, some climate impacts are now irreversible. So, the question at this point is not whether we can all together avoid this crisis. It is whether we can just avoid the worst consequences.”
“The test ahead of us is not grasping political life; it’s not a diplomatic challenge alone. It is a test, literally pitting human nature against itself,” he concluded.