Secretary of State John Kerry toured a factory in Beijing Saturday and announced a new joint partnership with China to work on curbing emissions and output of greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the atmosphere. (Feb. 15)
— Tim Kovach (@twkovach) February 16, 2014
Joe Romm (ClimateProgress) adds: Secretary of State John Kerry gave perhaps his strongest climate speech in Indonesia Sunday. He called climate change the “world’s most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction and said “the science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie. It’s warning us; it’s compelling us to act.”
At the same time, a must-read new analysis by Oil Change International finds that “all of the scenarios used by the State Department” in their Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline “result in emissions that put us on a path to 6 degrees C (11°F) of global warming according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).” Talk about mass destruction!
The U.S. has a serious shot at hitting the 2020 target of a 17 percent cut in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels that Obama made for the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen — a target embraced in his Climate Action Plan (but utterly ignored by State’s EIS). That requires the President to embrace strong emissions reductions from existing coal-fired power plants. But let’s not pretend that target is either especially hard to hit or scientifically meaningful (see “Developed Nations Must Cut Emissions In Half By 2020, Says New Study“).
That is to say, the fact Kerry can go to the other big emitters and commit to meeting Obama’s pledge is a necessary minimum condition to achieve a climate agreement, but it is not sufficient. He needs some moral standing. He needs to be able to demonstrate to the world the U.S. understands that far deeper cuts are needed post-2020 and that means not sticking new spigots into huge, dirty carbon pools like the tar sands.
Kerry needs to show that his words are more than words, that he actually believes climate change is the most fearsome WMD. Kerry must recommend to Obama that Keystone be killed.