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The oceans are key to fighting global warming: US climate ambassador

#oceans #key #fighting #global #warming #climate #ambassador

Protecting the world’s oceans will be fundamental to tackling global warming, US climate chief John Kerry told AFP on Tuesday, warning that the war in Ukraine and its economic fallout meant efforts to stem the tsunami dangerous carbon pollution encountered “strong headwinds”.

The interview on the sidelines of the UNO ocean conference in Lisbon has been edited in detail.

Q. This meeting does not have a negotiating agenda. How will it feed into important year-end summits on biodiversity and climate change?

You cannot solve the problem of the climate crisis without addressing the ocean, which is critical as a sink for carbon dioxide. And you can’t solve ocean problems without addressing climate, because greenhouse gas emissions acidify and warm ocean waters.

We just discussed this at a high level meeting with a cross section of countries. All agreed that the oceans should be included as a priority in the Sharm el-Sheikh COP (the UN climate summit in Egypt in November).

Whether it is the Green Shipping Corridors Initiative (for zero-carbon shipping); the memorandum signed today by President Biden to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on the high seas; or designate 30 percent of nations’ exclusive economic zones as protected areas — at every step there are connections between the ocean and what we need to do about the climate.

Q: Does the US support a call made here by the leaders of Palau and Fiji for a moratorium on deep-sea mining of minerals used to make electric car batteries?

We have not taken an official position on this. However, we have expressed major concerns about adequate research into the impacts of deep-sea mining, and we have not approved one.

F. Maritime shipping is responsible for about 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – just over a billion tons of CO2 – each year. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set itself the goal of reducing these emissions by 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Is that good enough?

no We want zero emissions in this sector by 2050 at the latest. This includes compatible targets for 2030 and 2040 to achieve that. The next few months are critical.

Q. The war in Ukraine has led to an upsurge in liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation. Isn’t there a risk of creating an interim solution for energy that will become a permanent problem for the climate?

It depends on what rules are set for the transition. We are not in favor of building a 20, 30 and 40 year LNG infrastructure without it being ready for green hydrogen and ammonia. They need to stay on track to reach net zero by 2050. That includes gas. So we need to be able to capture and store or use carbon.

In preparation for the G7 summit (June 26-28 in Germany) I was just looking at the wording (of the draft communiqué) which explicitly states that any replacement gas for Russia must be within the limits of the climate targets accepted in Glasgow and Paris must stay. Nobody talks about getting rid of it.

Ukraine is no excuse to suddenly turn away and not live up to the promises made. If we don’t reduce enough between 2020 and 2030, you won’t be able to reach net zero by 2050 – it’s as simple as that.

Q. A minister from a Caribbean country – whose responsibilities include managing subsidies – told me this morning that in a time of inflation and recession, climate protection is a last priority. Are we facing inclement weather?

Yes. There is a very strong headwind at the moment. But we have to stay on the ball. If the economic transition gets the investment it needs – and that’s what we’re working on – there will be huge jobs, supply chains will improve, and inflation can come down.

The climate crisis will not go away. If you think dealing with climate is expensive today, wait until we see tens of millions of people forced to relocate somewhere because of extreme heat, or a particular country’s breadbasket has completely imploded as a result of a drought.

None of this gets easier. The damage from the climate crisis will now mount for literally centuries. This is the predicament we have already gotten ourselves into by not addressing the need for clean energy.

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#oceans #key #fighting #global #warming #climate #ambassador

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