John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special presidential envoy for climate apologized for America becoming a climate crisis “renegade” under Donald Trump.
Kerry’s comments come ahead of a global summit on the climate crisis this week that will be headed by President Joe Biden. Kerry stated that the need to tackle climate issues was now “extremely urgent.”
“The word ‘urgent’ is totally applicable to the current crisis that we’re in because countries are simply not getting the job done,” Kerry stated on Sunday.
“Even if we did everything that we set out to do in the Paris Agreement, the Earth’s temperature is going to increase a very significant amount, perhaps as much as 3.7 degrees or more,” Kerry said. “And the reason for the real urgency now is that because we’re not getting done what we said we’d do in Paris, it’s actually heading towards 4 degrees or more.”
“That’s beyond catastrophic in the consequences to food production, water, habitability in various parts of the planet, the melting of ice, the sea level rise, the warming – all the consequences,” he added.
Back in September of 2020. Donald Trump flew to California to discuss forest fires and climate change. Smoke from the massive wildfires was still visible as Air Force One landed at McClellan Park.
He spoke from the tarmac and started off the briefing on the wrong foot when he replied to a question about his slow response to the fires by calling the question “nasty.”
“I got a call from the governor immediately and I called him immediately,” Trump said. “On that call, I declared an emergency. I gave an emergency declaration so don’t tell me about not doing it. That included FEMA coming here immediately…That’s a nasty question.”
Trump’s signing of the emergency declaration did open up federal funding for California to fight the fires in late August, but Trump did not tweet about the fires or show any real concern about what was taking place in California until weeks later.
Trump was in the Golden State for a briefing on the multiple wildfires that have been raging since mid-August.
When Trump spoke with Gov Newsome the governor told him that “It is self-evident that climate change is real,” Newsom told Trump. “I feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier.”
Trump quickly attempted to downplay climate change as he has done many times in the past. He again stated that what was needed was better forest management. He still believes that the answer is raking the forest floors.
Wade Crowfoot, the California Natural Resources Secretary, warned of the dangers of “ignoring science and putting our head in the sand and thinking that it’s all about forest management.”
Kerry would go on to apologize for Trump withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, a decision Biden reversed his first day in office.
“We are very sorry for the last four years with a president who didn’t care about science and who didn’t have a real rationale for pulling out, but he was the only president in the world, the only leader in the world, who pulled out of this [Paris] agreement,” Kerry said.
“President Biden said the first thing he’d do as president is return; we’ve done that and now with this summit, we’re going to try and bring nations to the table to do what we need to do to get the job done for future generations,” he said.
“…This is why we bring nations together and, unfortunately, the United States became a renegade in the last four years under the non-leadership of President Trump, but we are now back and present with a very aggressive series of initiatives in order to try to make up for the lost time.”
Kerry’s comments come on the heels of news that the US and China, the world’s two biggest polluters, had come to an agreement to commit to working with other countries to tackle the mounting climate crisis.
His comments also come as President Joe Biden gets set to meet with world leaders at a two-day summit on the climate crisis that begins on April 22, which is also Earth Day.