Secretary Kerry Addresses Global Progress on Climate Change at #COP22

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the United Nations twenty-second Conference of the Parties (COP) in Marrakech, Morocco today. Recognizing this would be his last time addressing this type of gathering of government, private sector, and climate activists as Secretary of State, Kerry acknowledged the remarkable gains the international community has made with the Paris Agreement and the collective work that must continue in the years ahead.

Secretary Kerry noted, “No one can deny the remarkable progress that we have made – progress that actually was pretty hard to imagine even a few years ago. The global community is more united than ever not just in accepting the challenge, but in confronting it with real action, in making a difference.”  

The global community is more united than ever not just in accepting the [climate change] challenge, but in confronting it with real action, in making a difference. [State Department photo]

Secretary Kerry reiterated the importance of  the international community moving “expeditiously” to put the Paris agreement permanently into force, crossing the thresholds of 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions.  “In a powerful statement of the whole world’s broad commitment to this agreement, in less than a year, 109 countries representing nearly 75 percent of the world’s emissions have now formally committed to bold, decisive action – and we are determined to affirm that action and to stick with it out of Marrakech,” he said.

Secretary Kerry touted the significance of the framework of the Paris Agreement, which embraces an “essence of common but differentiated responsibilities” where each country does what it can to address climate change. Through the agreement, the international community has pulled together an array of tools to help developing nations invest in infrastructure, technology, and the science as well as adapt to the climate impacts that many countries are already confronting.As Secretary Kerry noted, the agreement “leaves no country to weather the storm of climate change alone.”

We have to continue to defy expectations. We have to continue to accelerate the global transition to a clean energy economy. And we have to continue to hold one another accountable for the choices that our nations makes. [State Department photo]

Secretary Kerry also highlighted important progress that the international community has made on climate change since adopting the Paris Agreement last December, including a sector-wide aviation agreement on carbon-neutral growth and the Kigali agreement--an international agreement to phase down the global use and production of hydrofluorocarbons. According to Secretary Kerry, these advancements demonstrate how the the United States and its partners are moving the needle in the right direction as “global leaders have woken up to the enormity of this challenge, the world is now beginning to move forward together towards a clean energy future.”

In addition to the efforts of governments, Secretary Kerry made a point to emphasize to the role of the private sector and the market in advancing global efforts to combat climate change. Over the past decade, the global renewable energy market has expanded more than six-fold and last year alone, investment in renewable energy was at an all-time high at nearly $350 billion. While our emissions are being driven down by market-based forces clean energy is expected to be a multi-trillion dollar market in the future and it benefits all countries to have businesses involved in the expansion of clean energy economy. As Secretary Kerry said, "The energy curve is bending towards sustainability.The market is clearly headed towards clean energy, and that trend will only become more pronounced."


Climate change directly impacts everyone across all seven continents. We all must do our part to #ActOnClimate. 




Following his recent trip last week to Antarctica, Secretary Kerry shared how the visit was a clear and urgent reminder of the danger facing our planet if we do not act swiftly, doing all we can to reverse climate change. Given the real threat of melting ice sheets and rising sea waters, Secretary Kerry warned, “We can’t wait too long to translate the science that we have today into the policies that are necessary to address this challenge.”

Secretary Kerry closed his remarks by requesting of the audience and larger international community to always remember the stakes. He concluded, “Let us stand firm in support of the goals that we set in Paris and recommit ourselves to double our efforts to meet them. Let us say that when it comes to climate change, we will commit not just to doing our best, but as Winston Churchill admonished, we will do what is required.”   

Check out behind the scenes moments, shared from 'StateDept' on Snapchat, from COP22.

Editor's Note: This entry also appeared in the “Climate Change & Environment” Section in our Foggy Bottom publication. Go there for additional climate change stories during COP22. 

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Maureen V.
Massachusetts, USA
November 17, 2016
As a DIPNOTE follower for many years and citizen who adores the challenges of foreign policy, thank you Secretary Kerry for all that you have done including COP 22. In my opinion, to ignore or lesson our responsibility would be a threat to our national security. I have confidence that President Elect Trump will be quite creative and envision sources for job growth/education within the U.S. renewable energy sector as climate challenges increase. We must be mindful of drought, food and water insecurity. Policy will drive our ability to adapt.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers an address at the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, November 16, 2016. [AP Photo]
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
November 16, 2016


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