Russia’s war on Ukraine a ‘defining moment’ of the century, says John Kerry

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks during a joint China and US statement on a declaration enhancing climate action, at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Britain November 10, 2021.
Jeff J Mitchell | Pool | Reuters

Volatile energy prices are here to stay with Russia’s war on Ukraine set to be a “defining moment” for this century, John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, said Monday at CERAWeek by S&P Global.

His comments come as Russia’s invasion has upended global energy markets and supply chains. Oil shot above $130 Sunday evening for the first time since 2008. Natural gas in Europe is trading at never-before-seen levels.

Kerry, who served as Secretary of State during the Obama administration, said volatility is “something we’re going to live with for a little while,” with nations having to come together to counter President Vladimir Putin’s “illegal, unprovoked, profound dangerous” war.

“People realize this is a serious moment for all of us in the world. And it’s also serious, needless to say, on what’s happening to our planet,” Kerry said.

In terms of the energy transition, companies and nations are not doing enough in the here and now, he said.

Many emissions reduction targets focus on 2050, but keeping the emphasis on goals that are three decades away is misguided, Kerry said. Rather, the real measurement should be what’s done between 2020 and 2030 — only action now will achieve 2050’s stated goals.

“You can’t get there … if you don’t do what you need to do between 2020 and 2030,” he said.

Kerry added that the Biden administration is committed to an “all of the above” approach when it comes to energy policy looking forward.

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