Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US climate envoy Kerry says islands face 'beyond existential' threat

US climate envoy Kerry says islands face 'beyond existential' threat

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
US envoy for climate John Kerry said nations were moving too slowly to achieve the goal of checking warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times. AFP

US climate envoy Kerry says islands face 'beyond existential' threat

US climate envoy John Kerry on May 4 said island nations faced a situation "beyond existential" due to climate change, as he called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and coal plant financing.

The 20 countries responsible for most of the world's emissions had a "special responsibility" to take action, Kerry said – but warned they were not "moving in the same direction" or fast enough.

"When I talk to some of the island state leaders they are not just considering adaptation and resilience, they are considering where they are going to move to," Kerry told a virtual seminar during the Manila-based Asian Development Bank's (ADB) annual meeting.

"It's beyond existential."

Kerry, the former secretary of state who has become President Joe Biden's globe-trotting climate envoy, said "adequate finance" was critical for achieving the goal of checking warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times – the aspiration set in the Paris Agreement to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.

But he said nations were moving too slowly.

"We all know what we have to get done here. I hate to say it but we are sort of inching along, we are not actually getting it done," he warned.

"Emissions are going up, we are on the wrong track – people are building back from Covid as if there were no reason to be thinking differently."

Kerry's remarks came less than two weeks after Biden doubled US ambitions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, putting the country back at the forefront on climate.

ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa told the seminar the Asia Pacific region – which includes China, the world's biggest polluter – was responsible for about 50 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As the market for coal, oil and gas rebounds this year, he warned more than 80 per cent of the expected growth in coal demand would be from Asia.

"Without decarbonising energy systems the goals of the Paris Agreement will be beyond reach," he said.

Kerry called on banks to stop financing coal projects and for a framework to be put in place for "phasing out other fossil fuel investments" and support countries transition to "net-zero" emissions.

He also said fossil fuel subsidies should be abolished around the world – including in the US.

"You must create incentives for the right behaviour, not the wrong behaviour," he said.


  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro

  • Num banh chok pizza a new fusion hit

    Num banh chok is a traditional fish curry with fermented rice noodles, prahok fish paste, kroeung paste, flowering plants and seasonal vegetables that is arguably a strong contender for “national dish” status in Cambodia and typically served for breakfast or eaten as an afternoon snack.

  • Cambodia detects new Covid cases after 52 days: PM

    After 52 days of zero new Covid-19 cases, Cambodia has now detected new infections, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. In his special audio address to the nation late on June 28, Hun Sen said the new cases were detected on people who had undergone PCR tests

  • Higher education leaders tour US

    With support from the US Department of State, 10 Cambodian leaders in higher education participated in the 10-day International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) in three US states from June 19 to July 1. They included nine university rectors and directors of higher education institutions who are members of

  • Gold-covered boundary stone found within Angkor Thom’s West Gate

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) announced that their working group in charge of restoration work at Angkor Thom's Takav Gate or the West Gate recently found an ancient stone slab commonly known as a boundary stone. The boundary stone is 53 cm by 53 cm and 12 cm

  • Angkor ticket sales jump by 1,000 per cent in the first half

    Angkor Archaeological Park netted more than $2.4 million from ticket sales in the first half of 2022, an increase of more than 1,000 per cent year-on-year, Angkor Enterprise reported. According to a July 1 statement issued by Angkor Enterprise, the state-run institution that manages tickets sales for international visitors