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John Kerry calls building coal-fired power plants “irresponsible.”

John Kerry calls building coal-fired power plants “irresponsible.”

(SINGAPORE) – Building and financing new coal-fired power plants is “irresponsible” and described “greed” as the main obstacle to climate action, US climate envoy John Kerry said in Singapore on Friday.

Mr. Kerry also welcomed recent discussions with China on climate, and considered the upcoming negotiations at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai “very critical.”

The former head of American diplomacy declared that it had now become “irresponsible to finance or build a coal-fired power plant anywhere in the world.”

“Clean coal does not exist. This is not going to happen anytime soon,” he added during the Bloomberg Forum on the New Economy in Singapore.

“So we really need to move forward on the coal front,” he stressed, criticizing the “status quo” that prevails in much of the world, including the United States.

Photo by Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information, courtesy of AFP

John Kerry and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in 2021, participating countries agreed to “phase down coal-fired energy.”

China produces just over half of the world’s coal supplies, with domestic production hitting a new record last year, according to the United Nations.

The future of fossil fuels, including coal, will be at the center of discussions at COP28 starting at the end of the month which aims to limit temperature rises compared to the pre-industrial era to less than 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius. °C, in accordance with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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The United Nations warned on Wednesday that plans by major producing countries to expand oil, gas and coal production threaten the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

John Kerry received his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua, in California last weekend in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), ahead of the upcoming meeting next week between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in the United States.

China and the United States confirmed on Thursday that their recent climate discussions were successful, a new sign of the resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

The US climate envoy said Mr Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua had reached an “agreement” on “reducing emissions and the direction we need to take, and I am optimistic about that”.

One of the main challenges that the Dubai summit will face is to define the features of the so-called “loss and damage” fund, which was adopted in principle at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) and is supposed to compensate the poorest countries for the consequences of climate change.

The United States does not oppose this fund, but it calls on China to contribute to it alongside developed countries.