Remarks at the High-Level Thematic Debate on Delivering Climate Action for People, Planet, and Prosperity

Secretary John Kerry
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
U.S. Department of State
New York, New York
October 26, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President, for convening today’s gathering. Your initiative comes at a critical moment, not just for this body, for the world.

In just five days, many of us will gather in Glasgow for COP26. Make no mistake: the world is watching and hoping. Current and future generations will judge us by the commitments we make – and the actions we take – to address the defining crisis of our time.

The science is clear and compelling. In this critical decade, we must raise our collective ambition in order to limit global temperature rise to the 1.5 degree target – or face devastating climate calamity. No country will be spared. We are literally in this together.

The climate crisis is already here. You know that. You see it in your own countries in extreme, often deadly climate events that have hit vulnerable populations particularly hard. And you know that this crisis impacts virtually every aspect of our lives, from agriculture to infrastructure, from public health to food security.

The good news is that we also have the greatest economic opportunity since the Industrial Revolution. Tens of millions are already hard at work retooling the global economy from top to bottom.

For our part, thanks to President Biden’s leadership, the United States has put forward a bold NDC to reduce our emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030. We will be on track to get to net zero by 2050. And President Biden is going further, working with our Congress to again double our public climate finance commitment to more than $11 billion per year by 2024.

For the United States, COP26 is not an end – it is a new beginning. In the months and years to come, we hope to drive additional concrete action – including the Global Methane Pledge and the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate.

That action starts now. We must not just show up to Glasgow, but step up our respective commitments on climate mitigation, on adaptation, and on finance. Countries that have not yet done so must come to Glasgow with serious commitments that meet this moment. Anything less invites disaster.

My friends, in five days we have the chance to save the next five generations of life on this planet. Let us move forward in the only way possible: together. Thank you.