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Kerry: Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough'

The Hill logo The Hill 11/24/2020 Rebecca Beitsch
John Kerry wearing a suit and tie: Kerry: Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough' © Getty Images Kerry: Paris climate deal alone 'is not enough'

John Kerry, tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve as climate czar, said Tuesday the incoming administration would look to retake a leadership role on the international stage when it comes to fighting climate change.

"Mr. president-elect, you've put forward a bold transformative climate plan. But you've also underscored that no country alone can solve this challenge," Kerry said as Biden publicly introduced his national security team during remarks in Delaware.

"You're right, to rejoin Paris on Day 1," he added, referring to the Paris Agreement. The Trump administration formally withdrew from the multi-national climate pact earlier this month.

"And you're right to recognize that Paris alone is not enough," Kerry added.

Biden has proposed a $2 trillion climate plan that would push the U.S. to net zero emissions by 2050. But Kerry noted ton Tuesday that the U.S., which is responsible for about 15 percent of all emissions, will have to help other countries meet similar targets -- a move that presents an opportunity to boost jobs and sell U.S. technology.

"Failure is not an option. Succeeding together means tapping into the best of American ingenuity and creativity and diplomacy, from brain power to alternative energy power," Kerry said.

"No one should doubt the determination of this president [and] vice president. They shouldn't doubt the determination of a country that went to the moon, cured supposedly incurable diseases, and beat back global tyranny in World War Two. This kind of crisis demands that kind of leadership again. And President Biden will provide it."

In introducing Kerry, Biden said the former secretary of State and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee doesn't "underestimate the difficulties of meeting my bold commitments to fighting climate change" but added that "the world will know that one of my closest friends - John Kerry - is speaking for America on one of the most pressing threats of our time."

Kerry, officially a presidential envoy on climate change, will sit on the National Security Council.

Biden reiterated that he will name a White House climate policy coordinator next month who will "lead efforts here in the U.S. to combat the climate crisis and mobilize action to meet this existential threat."

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