Kerry: We have nine years to avert the worst of global warming

Posted Feb 19, 2021 by Karen Graham
Even as President Joe Biden acknowledged the U.S. has officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on Friday, Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry warned that the Earth has just nine years left to avert the worst possible climate change consequences.
Climate change increases the intensity of heatwaves and droughts  which fuel wildfires
Climate change increases the intensity of heatwaves and droughts, which fuel wildfires
Robyn Beck, AFP
Canada and the United States have been experiencing extremely cold winter weather the past couple of weeks and it is best described as being historic and unprecedented, and we can expect more of the snow and ice. John Kerry doesn't want this type of weather to become typical, according to CBS News.
"Obviously we want to prevent this from becoming the new normal to the degree that we can," Kerry told CBS News' Ben Tracy. “The scientists told us three years ago we had 12 years to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis. We are now three years gone, so we have nine years left," Kerry said.
Kerry may have been referring to the 2018 United Nations report, which warned that global emissions needed to decrease 45 percent by 2030 in order to avert 1.5 degrees of global warming.
People wait in line at a mall to get inside an H-E-B supermarket in Round Rock  Texas  on February 1...
People wait in line at a mall to get inside an H-E-B supermarket in Round Rock, Texas, on February 16, 2021 as millions were left without power as a deadly winter storm gripped the southern and central United States
What the U.S. is experiencing this winter is why it is necessary and even vital to maintain the global temperature increase below 1.5°C versus higher levels. Our world will suffer less negative impacts on the intensity and frequency of extreme events, on resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, cities, tourism, and carbon removal.
Citing what Texas is going through today, Kerry said, "It is directly related to the warming, even though your instinct is to say, wait a minute, this is the new Ice Age. But it's not. It is coming from global warming and it threatens all the normal weather patterns."
Global warming is due in large part to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions that are pumped into the sky from power plants, cars, planes, and industry, including the way we raise and grow our food. The U.S. is the second-largest emitter behind China of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet.
Hurricane Harvey  which flooded these homes near Lake Houston  Texas  in August 2017  cost $125 mill...
Hurricane Harvey, which flooded these homes near Lake Houston, Texas, in August 2017, cost $125 million and was the second-most expensive hurricane in US history
The cost of not taking global warming seriously
Even as some lawmakers cringe at the thought of the funding needed to mitigate the impacts of global warming, it’s nothing compared to the money we’ve had to spend cleaning up from climate disasters we haven’t adequately prepared for.
The U.S. spent $265 billion cleaning up after just three storms—Maria, Harvey, and Irma. “You spend $265 billion to clean up after the storms, but we can’t put a hundred billion together for the clean green climate fund?” Kerry says in a conversation with Al Gore for TED Countdown.
Wildfires and hurricanes have increased in frequency and ferocity in recent years  with many scienti...
Wildfires and hurricanes have increased in frequency and ferocity in recent years, with many scientists pointing to human activity as a driver of the climate change that is fueling such phenomenon
Robyn Beck, AFP/File
“That’s what this year has to be about. We got to break that cycle.” Kerry's comment is appropriate in light of the crisis currently unfolding in Texas, which didn’t winterize its power plants, and an example of the upgrades we need to make across our entire electric grid in order to be more resilient.
Climate change mitigation and the need to transition to cleaner energy has acquired a great deal of urgency. Kerry says there's been too little action and too much hot air. "There is no room for B.S. anymore. There's no faking it on this one," Kerry said.