Kerry in Brussels for climate change talks with EU officials

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John Kerry

FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. The world’s hopes for curbing climate change hinge on action by two giant nations whose relations are deteriorating. China and the United States both say they are intent on retooling their economies to burn less climate-wrecking coal, oil and gas. But tensions between them threaten their ultimate success (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

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BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry traveled to Brussels on Tuesday to discuss transatlantic cooperation with European officials in the wake of President Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the global effort to curb climate change.

Like EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Biden has said that fighting global warming is among his highest priorities. Biden had the United States rejoin the Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, undoing the U.S. withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump.

Kerry will meet with the EU Commission vice-president in charge of climate action, Frans Timmermans, and discuss preparations for the next U.N. climate summit in Glasgow in November. He will also talk with von der Leyen and join a weekly commission meeting on transatlantic climate action.

The 2015 Paris climate change accord commits countries to put forward plans for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels. European Union leaders reached a hard-fought deal in December to cut the bloc’s net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

The EU wants to be a leader in the fight against global warming and has pledged to reach climate neutrality by mid-century as part of its European Green Deal action plan, The Biden administration has yet to announce a new national 2030 target for cutting U.S. fossil fuel emissions.

Experts say any international efforts to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — or ideally 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) as agreed in the Paris accord — would struggle without the contribution of U.S., the world’s second-biggest carbon emitter after China. Scientists say time is running out to reach that goal because the world has already warmed 1.2 degrees C (2.2 degrees F) since pre-industrial times.

In addition to the U.N. climate summit in November, Kerry will also discuss preparations for a U.S.-hosted climate leaders summit on April 22-23.

Kerry will also meet with the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, U.S. officials said.


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