SECRETARY KERRY:  (In progress) Needless to say, because of what Mother Nature has been screaming at us about over the past year particularly with the losses and damages and amazing impacts around the world, I think people all over the world have high hopes for this COP, as I do.  It’s a very important COP.  It’s the first COP that will take stock of our collective progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.  It was ordered in the Paris Agreement, as you all know, and now we are following through on the Paris Agreement by holding the first global stocktake ever.  And it’s a unique opportunity, in my judgment, to rally the world to significantly step up our collective efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

So, we’re going to be focused on securing strong outcomes on the major mandated negotiated issues that are part of this conference.  Those three mandated issues are, first of all, the global stocktake, which will be a very important document, in our judgment; secondly, the adaptation report that will be coming through; and thirdly, the standing up of the loss and damage fund itself and, in addition, providing further guidance going forward to advance the Paris Agreement’s goal on adaptation.   

And I want to underscore, I think this global stocktake needs to earn the credibility of the world by being candid, strong, visionary, comprehensive; it needs to lay out for the world what’s happened since Paris.  The measurement of the stocktake begins with Paris, and it goes forward from there.  And at the time of Paris, we were headed towards about 3.7 to 4 degrees of warming on the planet.  Now, at least – and I don’t say this because the job is done, but at least we’re down around 2.5, 2.7.  It depends who you’re talking to.  But also we know from the IEA that if all the promises of Glasgow were fulfilled and all the promises of Sharm el-Sheikh were fulfilled, you could be by 2050 at either 1.8 degrees or 1.7 degrees of warming on the planet.   

So, it shows that with this effort, things could be within grasp.  They’re not completely for the simple reason that not everybody is doing what they promised to do, and needless to say, that’s a problem and we need to have accountability at this COP for that lack of follow-through by some.  But strong decisions in those three areas that I mentioned are a key measurement of the success of this COP, the potential success of this COP. 

In addition to the negotiated outcomes, we’re going to be working to advance the climate response globally to the crisis through strengthened national action to achieve both domestic and Paris Agreement goals, and we’ll be doing that through a number of efforts that we initiated in Glasgow.  To name just a few of the examples that the United States proudly took part in helping to announce, particularly one with the EU with Ursula von der Leyen, which was the Global Climate Pledge, and this year we’ll be adding a very important contribution with respect to methane, which will involve both oil and gas companies as well as countries as well as a special effort to – by China and the United States, which we agreed to in Sunnylands, that we would join together in a summit at this COP on the methane issue. 

Methane, as you know, is responsible for 50 percent of the global warming that’s taking place, the global heating, and in addition to that it is far more damaging, far more destructive than CO2 because methane is in its early years – within the first 20 years – 80 to 100 times more destructive, and in the later years about 20 times more destructive.  So, we also think it’s the easiest, quickest, fastest, cheapest way to begin to get gains against the warming.  So there’ll be a major focus on methane.   

We’ll be focused on shipping through the Green Shipping Challenge.  We’ve made incredible progress with major companies taking steps.  We have efforts in heavy industry – steel, aluminum, concrete, cement, others – through the First Movers Coalition, which we’ll be talking about, and deforestation through the forest carbon leaders’ partnership*, which I co-chair with the foreign minister from Ghana. 

So, we’re also focusing on strengthening resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, the PREPARE program, which he announced when he visited the COP.  And that is a multibillion-dollar initiative to assist the most vulnerable and challenged and threatened nations around the world.  

We’ll also be working to highlight and generate increased support for the all-in global finance mobilization effort, and finance will take a very prominent role at this COP partly because of the changes we’ve been able to make at the World Bank and partly because of new initiatives that are going to be announced in order to accelerate the transition on a global basis. 

And finally, we’re going to be refocusing effort and energy on the 1.5 degrees, which is the critical guidepost for all of us here.  There’ll be efforts on mitigation; there’ll be efforts on the innovation frontier, particularly with respect to agriculture and other sectors.   

It’s safe to say that there literally will be hundreds of initiatives that will be announced, many of them coming from the United States but also many coming from other parts of the world, and I think it’s going to be a very exciting presentation of a global effort that is taking place, even though it’s not happening fast enough or big enough yet. 

So let me just leave it there for the opening introductory comments, and I’m happy to take questions. 

MODERATOR:  Great.  Thank you so much, sir.  Just to note for all of those attending today, this is an on-the-record briefing with U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry.  We are offering simultaneous translation in Arabic. 

We have received many questions submitted in advance, and I would like to try to get to at least one question from each region of the world before we take any live questions.  So, with that, we’ll start with a pre-submitted question from a media outlet here in the United Arab Emirates as the host country of this year’s COP28, and the question comes from our colleague Akram Abou Al Hnoud from the Emirates’ Al Bayan newspaper.  And Akram asks:  “Special Presidential Envoy Kerry, what is the current level and nature of cooperation and coordination between the U.S. and the UAE and other MENA countries to achieve ambitious outcomes at COP28?  And how confident can we be that the conference will effectively support climate action efforts and lead to clear implementation results?”  Over to you, sir.  

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, let me begin by saying that the UAE has been focused on this issue for some period of time.  When I was first appointed to the job of climate envoy, the UAE hosted a first-ever climate conference in the region, and we had 11 countries there, five or six of whom were all oil and gas producers but all of whom signed on to efforts to try to mitigate the impacts of unmitigated, unabated fossil fuel burning.  And so we have high hopes that we’re going to be able to make some progress at this – at the COP with respect to it. 

We’ve worked closely with the leadership as we have and do at all of these COPs.  I mean, I’ve been going to COPs since we – the process was created back in 1992 with the Rio Earth Summit, and I’ve been to some that failed and some that have made great advances.  I had the pleasure of leading our negotiations in Paris and also leading the negotiations in Glasgow as well as Sharm el-Sheikh, and now here in Dubai.  So, I’m very familiar with these most recent years of negotiating, and I feel confident that we’re going to make progress.  The question is how much progress, and what will be the outlook going forward over the course of the next 15, 20 years, or particularly the 2030 target which looms large that we have goals to achieve reductions.  And we’ve worked closely with each of the COP presidencies along that journey because that’s the best way to try to help get results and to be serious about this issue.   

So I do have hopes that we’re going to make more progress here.  But in the end, the proof is in the pudding.  I mean, you can – the crunch is here.  We start tomorrow.  A lot of work has been done over the course of the last months as we’ve all been preparing for this moment, and there’s no misunderstanding among the delegations that are coming here that this needs to be very serious and very productive.  And unfortunately, there obviously always are a few who are falling into a camp of either denial or some slowing down, procrastination.  And that’s just the nature of an international negotiation that involves 195 countries.  But we intend to do our best to advance the interests of everybody on the planet to have a fair and just, more accelerated transition to the new energy economy that the world needs. 

MODERATOR:  Great, thank you, sir.  Let’s move around the world a little bit.  We’ll move over to Rwanda on the African continent for a question from our colleague, Dusabemungu Ange de la Victoire, from Top Africa News.  And our colleague from Rwanda asks:  “Sir, in the context of African countries, including Rwanda, what strategies does the United States plan to employ to support and engage in the fight against climate change and the achievement of sustainable development objectives?  And how can the U.S. collaborate with countries like Rwanda across Africa to harness their distinct capabilities and knowledge to propel clean energy technologies and stimulate sustainable economic progress in Africa?”  Over to you, sir. 

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, we are keenly aware of the degree to which Africa bears an enormous brunt of the crisis of climate on a global basis.  I mean, Africa is among the hardest hit.  It is the least contributor to the problem.  So, I think we all sense a very special relationship there and a need to respond to what is happening.  Countries like Somalia and Ethiopia, Kenya, have all faced extreme floods – Mozambique.  The three I mentioned are just in the past two months – three months, and obviously displacing thousands of people and taking lives.  And those floods came on – in the wake of the longest drought on record, which left millions of people without secure access to food over the last three years.   

So that’s precisely why President Biden launched the Presidents’ Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience.  And that will directly help half a billion people in developing countries – especially Africa – to adapt to the worst climate impacts.  In addition, we’ve worked hard to deal with the standing up of the loss and damage fund.  We anticipate that that’s going to be constructed in a way that will really serve the needs of the developing world of the Global South, and we think that the measures being taken and the initiatives that are growing around the world are going to be very significant in addressing the needs of Africa.   

We are – we’re very – we are the largest donor in the African-led and African-conceived African Adaptation Initiative.  And at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi – which I had the pleasure of attending, which was a terrific conference, by the way, and President Ruto deserves a lot of credit for the job he did in leading that – we announced new funding to advance adaptation and accelerate climate-resilient food security initiatives across Africa.  And we intend to be a strong partner for African countries who are adapting to climate impacts.   

We also look forward to working with the World Bank for some of the new finance structures that are going to make it much more possible to be able to develop alternative renewable clean energy choices so that countries aren’t stuck with a one-choice-only, you got to go the road of fossil fuel.  We think there are many more and better options than that in today’s world, and we’re going to work very hard with the region in order to be able to have a greater impact.  And I think that the technologies that are now beginning to come online are hard to afford in some of the developing countries, so we have a special responsibility to try to help on the finance front, which we’re going to do for certain.  And working with the World Bank, we anticipate a much higher level of less expensive lending to take place.  We’re also going to be working on nature-based solutions, and even swaps, debt for swaps, that will make it possible to move. 

So, I think it’s an exciting time with a lot of potential in the deployment of these new initiatives. 

MODERATOR:  Great, thank you, sir.  We’re going to keep moving around the world.  We’ll move west over to Argentina for a question from our colleague, Victor Ingrassia from the Infobae news outlet.  And Victor asks:  “Sir, what can the countries most vulnerable to climate change do to ensure their voices are heard at COP and in the overall climate discussion?”  Over to you, sir. 

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, some of that I tried to just answer in the discussion about Africa.  But every developing country has its own characteristics, has its own challenges.  And yet there are still similarities between some of the things that are necessary. 

The Just Energy Transition Partnerships, which we created together with our friends in Europe, are country-led platforms that are tailored to each country’s specific needs.  And I helped to negotiate the one in both Vietnam and in Indonesia, which we’re now implementing, and we hope to have strong announcements at COP28 with respect to the progress on those.   

But we focus on three things: one, supporting a country’s specific ambition to de-carbonize its energy sector and helping them to create new policy environments that can deal with – can remove market distortions and facilitate more renewable energy investments – that’s one – second, the partnership aggregates significant sums of development finance and philanthropic resources in order to help catalyze private sector finance which will support those countries’ climate goals.  There are trillions of dollars sitting on the sidelines in various parts of the world which shy away from some of the climate investments for reasons of risk or whatever their perceptions are, and what we need to do is try to create an availability of bankable deals.  And that can happen by having some blended finance and mixed finance mechanisms, using credits, other things, other tools.  And I think that hopefully COP28 in Dubai is going to produce a pretty healthy menu of possibilities on the finance front.   

MODERATOR:  Great.  Thank you, sir.  We’ll now move – we’ll continue to move around the world and come all the way back around to the Asia region, and we’ll do a question from our colleague Sylvie Zhuang from the South China Morning Post.  Sylvie, I do see you have your hand raised, but I’m going to go ahead for the sake of time and ask your question.  And Sylvie asks:   “Sir, what types of collaborations do you aim to establish with China during COP28?  And can you speak a little bit about your work and collaboration up until now with China’s climate envoy?”  Over to you, sir.   

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, thank you for the question.  Xie Zhenhua, who is the climate envoy for China, and I have known each other for 25 years or more.  We’ve been to many COPs together, and we’ve had the privilege of negotiating together to come up with joint efforts in the past.  I’m pleased to say that at our meeting for four days in California at Sunnylands, our two teams worked very, very hard to find ways to collaborate effectively to advance the mission here.  And as a result of those discussions, we released statements that enhance climate action in this decade, including national action on energy transition and common approaches to the COP – to this – to the decision-making here at the COP.  So, we have decided to actually work together to get a successful COP, to get a successful global stocktake. In addition, we’ve agreed to undertake certain steps in terms of deployment of renewable energy in order to be able to force the greater reductions of emissions as a result of that.  So, the outcome from Sunnylands is an important milestone in these efforts.   

We will continue these discussions in the next few days here in Dubai.  And we intend to work hard to see if there’s further collaboration that could advance the cause for all of us.  China is one of the largest emitters in the world, as are we.  We’re number two; they’re number one.  And we’re both very conscious of the fact that we need – our citizens want cleaner air, they want healthier lives, they want us to have a safer world in which energy isn’t weaponized.  So, we have reasons to try to work together and continue to make the COP a success here.   

China also agreed with us that we will both submit all our greenhouse gases – like methane, for instance, which wasn’t in the last listings – now we will join all greenhouse gases within the future reduction plans of each country.  And I think we have a very common approach to the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement.  So, there is cause for more collaboration here in the next few days, and most importantly without China and the United States aggressively moving forward to reduce emissions, we don’t win this battle.  So, we need to – we need to step up and help get the job done at a faster rate.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  We’ll move from China and Hong Kong over to India, and we have a question from our colleague Gaurav Saini from the Press Trust of India.  And Gaurav asks, “Sir, is the United States content with the current draft of the agreement regarding the loss and damage fund?  And if now, what revisions or adjustments does the U.S. envision for it?”  Over to you, sir.   

SECRETARY KERRY:  Well, the United States fully supports the consensus that was reached by the transitional committee, which we served on, and it was reached earlier this month on recommending how you operationalize the funding arrangements for this fund and how we will respond in a way that the vulnerable and most affected countries feel like the fund is actually helpful and there for them and capable of making a difference.  So, we think that this fund – the way it’s designed – will meet the needs of vulnerable countries.   

We worked hard with our partners to have – to propose ways in which this fund can be stood up quickly but confidently by using the – by using the world – the World Bank as the repository initially, temporarily.  And we’re working with partners to develop a framework that’s going to accelerate some of the activities that need to be engaged in now in order to make sure that this fund is going to meet recovery needs, damages from storms, hurricanes, in some cases moving people out of harm’s way, early warning of storms.  There’s just a whole lot of pieces of it that we think need to be addressed.  And I think that it’s important the fund does not represent any expression of liability or compensation or any sort of legal – new legal requirements, but it is going to try to be there for those in the developing world who have taken some of the brunt and whose citizens are, in many cases, threatened as a consequence of not being able to adapt or build out resilience and so forth.   

So, it’s a good fund; we support it.  We actively worked very hard to create it, and we will continue to be supportive. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  And we’ll conclude our tour around the world with a question from one of our journalist colleagues in Europe.  And this question comes from Carl Elfstrom from SVT in Sweden, and Carl asks:  “Sir, will the United States endorse agreements aimed at gradually reducing or eliminating unmitigated fossil fuels, with specific reference to oil?”   

Over to you, sir. 

SECRETARY KERRY:  Yeah, we supported language requiring the phase-out of unabated fossil fuel, and we will continue to support that language.  We supported it at the G7 and we support it now.  We find it hard for anybody to understand how they would continue to allow unabated burning of fossil fuel in the world we’re living in, knowing what we know about the dangers.  So, we do support an outcome in the global stocktake that builds on the G7 commitment to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels, and to achieve net-zero emissions in all energy systems by mid-century. 

We still have people who have not signed up to that.  They are, some of them, among the major producers of fossil fuel, and they need to immediately step up and be part of the solution, not the most significant part of the problem.  And we hope we can send a very strong signal that the nations of the world are committed to work together to transition away from fossil fuel emissions in the next three decades.  Period.  It’s critical. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, sir.  For all of our journalists, I apologize; we’re not going to be able to get to all the many, many questions today.  Special Envoy Kerry – 

SECRETARY KERRY:  Let me just say to everybody – let me say to everybody, because I know there’s a fair amount of interest, and obviously with the COP opening tomorrow this begins in earnest, so at some point in the course of the next week or so, if we can find the time with the crazy schedule here – I would be delighted to have some more conversation or have a chance to answer a few more questions, because I know that there’s a lot to make clear to people and there’s a fair amount even to straighten out to people.  So, we’re happy to do so. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, sir.  And there’s a tremendous interest.  We had journalists from every corner of the world with us today.  So, we really appreciate your time.  This is going to conclude today’s call.  I would like to thank U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry —  

SECRETARY KERRY:  Can I – can I just —  

MODERATOR:  Go ahead, sir, please.   

SECRETARY KERRY:  — apply one coda.  If you don’t mind, I want to apply one simple coda to this.   

I mentioned in the very beginning about the speed and the challenge, and I want to be as crystal-clear as I can be that President Biden and the United States now are fully seized of the full measure of threat that this issue poses to the planet, to all of us, to all of our citizens.  And we’re – we have worked very hard with a lot of countries to achieve an understanding of what’s needed to get there, to keep 1.5 degrees alive.  We all depend on each other.  There’s no way to get there.  No one country can solve this problem.  But we all know what the problem is.  It is this burning of fossil fuel without abatement, without capturing, or not burning it and providing for alternatives. 

And what is very clear to us – and we will be pushing this the next two weeks that we are here negotiating – we have to move faster.  We have to be much more seized of this issue all around the planet.  There’s too much business as usual still.  We have got to bring people to the table who are not yet there, and we will make progress in that here.  And there will be steps forward that have not yet been – that have not been articulated or put together.  But even that, we’re going to have to move at a much, much faster rate and deploy many more trillions of dollars in order to achieve our goals.  And that has to be hammered home every day with – relentlessly in an effort to get what we need to do to win this battle.   

So end of coda, and look forward to continuing the conversation with you.  Thank you. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, sir, for your time today.  That concludes today’s call.  If you have any questions about today’s call, you can contact the Dubai Regional Media Hub at  Thank you. 

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U.S. Department of State

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