US climate envoy pledges to meet targets after Supreme Court ruling

The Supreme Court has limited the US government’s room for maneuver on climate issues. The climate envoy is nevertheless determined.

John Kerry in Berlin in May – AFP


the essentials in brief

  • Following a Supreme Court verdict, the US climate envoy pledges compliance with the goals.
  • “We are determined to achieve our goals,” said John Kerry.
  • After taking office, Joe Biden significantly tightened the US climate targets.

US climate envoy John Kerry has pledged that the US will achieve its climate goals despite the Supreme Court curtailing the EPA’s powers.

“We are determined to achieve our goals,” Kerry told AFP. “We can achieve our goals.”

“But of course it would help if we had a majority on the Supreme Court in the United States that actually understands the seriousness of the situation,” Kerry said. It would be good if the Court were “more willing to be helpful” rather than an obstacle.

Supreme Court restricted climate room for manoeuvre

The US Supreme Court on Thursday drastically restricted the government’s room for maneuver in the fight against climate change with a ruling on the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The judges ruled that the EPA had exceeded its authority in setting overall limits for CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants.

After his election victory against climate skeptic Donald Trump and his assumption of office, US President Joe Biden significantly tightened the United States’ climate targets. The US is now to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden during a speech. – Keystone

The Supreme Court ruling on the EPA makes it harder for the government to achieve its goals. Last year, Biden also failed in his attempt to get a climate protection and social package worth billions through Congress.

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China challenges US climate targets

On Friday, China expressed doubts that the US will meet its climate protection goals. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, referring to Washington, that “just shouting slogans is not enough”.

Kerry told AFP that he was “not surprised” by the Chinese comments. “We will show China exactly how we will do the job,” said the former foreign minister and presidential candidate.

However, a five-year plan by the US Department of the Interior, which provides for possible new permits for oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and in Alaska, caused a stir on Friday. Biden had promised to lead the US away from fossil fuels. New drilling permits in the Atlantic and Pacific are not included in the Interior Ministry’s plan.

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Donald Trump Climate Change John Kerry Joe Biden Government