Former Secretary of State John Kerry: Rejoining Paris Climate Change Accord ‘Not Adequate’

By Melanie Arter | September 23, 2019 | 4:15pm EDT
(Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

( - Former Secretary of State John Kerry told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that rejoining the Paris climate accord is “not adequate” and that the U.S. needs to get a net zero carbon economy by 2050.

“Now you famously negotiated the Paris climate change accord. I remember you going to the signing with your granddaughter on your knee. You felt really passionate about this, but even you say that was not sufficient. Every Democrat running says they're going to rejoin this accord,” host Margaret Brennan said.


“Yes. Not adequate,” Kerry said. As to what more needs to be done, he said, “an enormous amount.”



“We have to transition very rapidly to electric vehicles. We have to get to a net zero carbon economy in our country by 2050. We have to by 2030 have moved significantly in the direction of major changes,” Kerry said.

“Every scientist who has been involved in this for years is telling us we have a certain number of years in order to be able to respond, and no nation in the world is responding adequately. So, we're going to create a movement here in America, I believe, that will and across the world actually--a global movement called World War Zero,” he said.

“And you can go to now, and there's an introductory page. In October, we'll be filling out the full web site, but we will be announcing this in full with big names, a big concept that is going to help change the political dynamic in America. It's going to create political accountability around the world for leaders who are not doing what is necessary,” Kerry said.

“Well about sixty countries at the U.N. this week are expected to make some kind of pledge to reduce some kind of pollution. If the United States, the Trump administration, and China aren't leading this, is it meaningless?

“Some kind is a good word,” Kerry said. “Well, it's not meaningless.”

“They're the two biggest polluters,” Brennan said.

“No, it's not meaningless. There are countries: India, China are going to make announcements and its steps forward, but the United States of America represents the second largest amount individually of emissions that contribute to this. China is 25 percent. We're 15 percent. We have to be at the table,” Kerry said.

“We have to be involved, and this is a life-and-death issue, as kids I mean 16-year-old kids and a lot of children all around the world are saying, save the future for us. They can't vote in the Congress. They don't have a position in the boardroom right now, so more and more companies are actually coming to the table,” he said.

“We're working with a group called We Mean Business, a thousand companies, $21 trillion of assets. They're committed to moving, and I believe we can change the dynamic and hold politicians accountable. That's the key. We did it in 1970 with Earth Day. We created the EPA. We created the Clean Air Act, many other things. We have to create political accountability and make this an issue that will motivate people,” Kerry added.



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