U.S. climate envoy Kerry says Ukraine war no excuse to let up on climate fight

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U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry attends a meeting with ASEAN leaders and U.S. business representatives as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) U.S.- ASEAN Special Summit, in Washington, U.S., May 12, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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DAVOS, May 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday that the global energy crisis wrought by the war in Ukraine should not deepen the world's dependence on fossil fuels causing climate change.

"There has to be a resupply to Europe of gas that has been lost in the cutoff from Russia," he said in Davos, Switzerland.

For the longterm, however, he warned: "No one should believe that the crisis of Ukraine is an excuse to suddenly build out the old kind of infrastructure that we had ... we have to be much smarter than that given the stakes."

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Soaring energy prices have stoked multi-decade high inflation in some countries and recession fears as sanctions against key oil and gas producer Russia have tightened supply.

There was no room for backsliding, Kerry said, pointing to a 6% rise in emissions and 9% increase in the use of heavily polluting coal.

Rapid investment in renewable energy technology was the only solution to keep warming below 1.5 degrees celsius, he said.

"If we make the right choices here we can win all of these battles: we can do what we need to do with respect to Ukraine, we can do what we need to do with respect to the climate crisis," Kerry said.

"We cannot be seduced into believing that this suddenly is an open door to going back and doing what we were doing which created the crisis in the first place".

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Writing by Noah Browning; Editing by Catherine Evans, Alexandra Hudson

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