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Major focus on methane reduction at COP28, says John Kerry

Dubai: Nations will come together to advance the global climate response and stem the crisis through strengthened action at the UN Climate Change Conference 2023 or COP28, which starts today, said the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “This year we’ll be adding a very important contribution with respect to methane, which will involve both oil and gas companies as well as countries,” Kerry said at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.

“We’re going to be working to advance the global response to the climate crisis through strengthened national action to achieve both domestic and Paris Agreement goals, and we’ll be doing that through several efforts that we initiated in Glasgow,” he added.

“We will include all greenhouse gases within the future reduction plans of each country. We have a common approach to the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement. So, there is cause for more collaboration here in the next few days, and most importantly, without China and the United States aggressively moving forward to reduce emissions, we won’t win this battle. We need to step up and help get the job done at a quicker pace.”

Methane is responsible for 50% of global warming and is more destructive than CO2. Within the first 20 years of its release it is 80 to 100 times more destructive, and later on about 20 times more destructive. “We think it’s the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to start making gains against global warming. There will be a major focus on methane [reduction],” Kerry said.

Other than reducing methane emissions, the US will also work with China on deploying renewable energy to force greater reductions in emissions. “We will continue these discussions in the next few days here in Dubai, and we intend to work hard to see if there’s further collaboration that could advance the cause for all of us. China is one of the largest emitters in the world, and we’re number two. We’re both very conscious of the fact that our citizens want cleaner air and healthier lives… they want us to have a safer world in which energy isn’t weaponized. So, we have reasons to try to work together and continue to make the COP a success here,” he said.

The US will focus on shipping through the Green Shipping Challenge and deforestation through the forest carbon leaders’ partnership, which Kerry will co-chair with the foreign minister from Ghana.

The US is also focusing on strengthening resilience against the effects of the climate crisis through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, the PREPARE program, a multibillion-dollar initiative to help the most vulnerable nations around the world, especially in Africa.

The loss and damage fund is expected to be constructed in a way that serves the needs of the developing world, and the significant measures are being taken to address the needs of Africa, Kerry added.

He said the US will also work to increase support for the all-in global finance mobilization effort, and that finance will have a very prominent role at this COP summit because of changes the US has been able to make at the World Bank and new initiatives to accelerate the transition to clean energy.

Regarding energy transition, Kerry said, “We focus on three things: one, supporting a country’s specific ambition to de-carbonize its energy sector and helping them create new policy environments that can remove market distortions and facilitate more renewable energy investments. Two, the partnership aggregates significant sums of development finance and philanthropic resources to help catalyze private sector finance, which will support those countries’ climate goals. There are trillions of dollars sitting on the sidelines in various parts of the world… and what we need to do is try to create an availability of bankable deals. Hopefully, COP28 will produce a pretty healthy menu of possibilities on the finance front.”

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Updated: 30 Nov 2023, 02:01 PM IST

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