United States Policy at COP22

Today in the morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry paid a visit to COP 22.  In his remarks he talked about the danger as well as the thrill of preaching to the choir, aka the attendants of the conference.  With a sense of optimism, he lauded the COPs for their progress in achieving steps towards attending to climate change issues.  However, he also warned that there is still much more work to be done moving forward because the Paris Agreement, on its own, isn’t enough.

With regards to the ramifications of the recent elections, Secretary Kerry said the markets are going to drive clean energy so a Trump presidency wouldn’t be detrimental to the progress we are currently making.  Brazil, India, and China are already investing in clean energy, so it just makes sense for the US to also do so.  He then emphasized the need to let go of coal as a source of energy because it produces 50% of greenhouse gases but only 30% of energy.  One of the main ways that this can be effectively achieved is through innovative entrepreneurship efforts.  Secretary Kerry then emphasized the morality behind climate change and finished with a note that it should not be a partisan issue.

Later on in the day,  I visited the North American mid-century strategy meeting where Mexico, Canada, and the US presented the goals of their respective states for the year 2050. Brian Deese (a senior advisor to the President) laid out the US’s 2050 goals, which were submitted to the UNFCCC earlier in the morning.  The goals are open to the public and can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/mid_century_strategy_report-final.pdf

These goals include plans to reduce emissions by 80% from 2005 levels. Mr. Deese stated that a low emission strategy is pro-life, pro-jobs, and pro-income growth.  Like Secretary Kerry in the morning, Brian Deese emphasized how market forces are already leading the way to clean energy. When asked about if the plan factored in a Trump presidency, he commented that the 2050 goals did not include political factors in development.

This blog is a contribution of OJ Adhikari, one of our Week 2 delegates.

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