First of all, I want to quickly acknowledge the fact that I’ve been off the air for weeks. Put it down, if you will, to the end of semester for my graduate class, the holidays, some other work that needed to get done, but mostly to a sort of mini-sabbatical that I took for myself.
So, to the point: There was a great article the other day in the NY Times from Coral Davenport, the climate change beat reporter who came on in December: Kerry Quietly Makes Priority of Climate Pact. (Davenport is a vast improvement from John Broder, her predecessor, who took the opportunity often, it seemed to me, to take a hatchet to the administration’s efforts on climate and energy, and who had, at best, a cynical attitude to clean tech and policy advances.)
Davenport’s article asserts that Kerry’s “…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.” That comports with the history of Kerry’s climate activism and his statements and actions since becoming Secretary. I predicted that Kerry would be the right person for the job when his nomination looked inevitable. The article further reports that Kerry has directed that climate change be on the agenda for all meetings between top US diplomats and foreign officials, he has added climate policy specialists to personal staff, and is pushing climate deals in the G-20 and beyond.
During his recent visit to Vietnam, he had quite a bit to say about climate change and the environment, including that “…we have a responsibility to pursue development in a way that’s sustainable for our ecosystems, for our economics, and for our climate, and for our people.” Scientific American reported here on what the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has to say. Kerry is quoted: “I’m proud to say that we are closer than we’ve ever been to a breakthrough.” (See the State Department webpage on climate change here for more on their focus.)
Kerry assured the delegates to the last Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Warsaw, that the US is serious about the issue. According to Davenport’s sources, the world is beginning to believe the Obama Administration on this. This is greatly attributable to John Kerry’s views and commitment.