Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kudos to Secretary of State John Kerry

The immediacy of our 24/7 news cycle tends to view events in the isolation of the moment rather than reflect on how we got here or where we might be going. I'd like to buck that trend.

Recently we heard about the historic agreement the Obama administration reached with China on global climate change. And then today comes this:
President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Sunday that the two countries will work together to fight global climate change, laying out a set of goals that the two countries hope “will expand policy dialogues and technical work on clean energy and low greenhouse gas emissions technologies.”

While not a concrete emissions reductions agreement like the one Obama reached with China this past November, the deal includes efforts to cooperate on reducing emissions of fluorinated gases, invigorate India’s promotion of clean energy investment, and partner to reduce the debilitating air pollution that has plagued many of India’s cities.

The agreement also emphasized that the countries would “cooperate closely” for a “successful and ambitious” agreement at the Paris climate talks at the end of the year. During that conference, 196 nations are expected to meet and tentatively agree a course of action to respond to climate change. It is widely considered the last chance for a global agreement that could feasibly keep the rise in global average temperatures under 2°C.
I was reminded of something Coral Davenport wrote a year ago that demonstrates how we got here and where this is all going.
...while the public’s attention has been on his diplomacy in the Middle East, behind the scenes at the State Department Mr. Kerry has initiated a systematic, top-down push to create an agencywide focus on global warming.

His goal is to become the lead broker of a global climate treaty in 2015 that will commit the United States and other nations to historic reductions in fossil fuel pollution...

Shortly after Mr. Kerry was sworn in last February, he issued a directive that all meetings between senior American diplomats and top foreign officials include a discussion of climate change. He put top climate policy specialists on his State Department personal staff. And he is pursuing smaller climate deals in forums like the Group of 20, the countries that make up the world’s largest economies.

“He’s approaching this creatively,” said Heather Zichal, who recently stepped down as Mr. Obama’s top climate adviser and worked for Mr. Kerry from 2002 to 2008. “He’s thinking strategically about using other forums.”
That's the kind of behind-the-scenes effort that has gone into these two huge announcements with China and India. If all goes as planned, it is looking more and more possible that the nations of the world will reach a global climate treaty before the end of this year. Talk about a BFD!!!!

So let's give a big shout-out to SoS John Kerry for his vision and work with President Obama to recognize the long game on climate policy.


  1. Just imagine what a president he could have made in 2004!!

  2. Have you compiled a list of Kerry achievements? It's gotta be getting lengthy.