US climate envoy John Kerry on Thursday defended his plan to raise money for climate action by selling carbon offsets to companies, telling CNN that “there wasn’t enough money in no country in the world to really solve this problem.”
Speaking to CNN at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, Kerry said the world cannot avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis without private money, because governments are unwilling to pay for what is needed.
Kerry’s plan to finance the transition to renewable energy in vulnerable countries by allowing companies to pay for someone else to reduce their global warming emissions, rather than reducing their own, raised concerns among climate experts. Many have warned that selling carbon credits could dissuade companies from actually reducing emissions.
But Kerry has made his vision clear.
“We need money desperately,” Kerry told CNN. “It takes trillions and no government I know of is willing to put trillions into it annually,” he added.
“I am absolutely convinced that it is one of the few ways we have to be able to produce the amount of capital we need to accelerate this transition.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Tuesday that “shadow markets for carbon credits cannot undermine genuine efforts to reduce emissions”.
Kerry admitted that carbon trading can be problematic when there aren’t “sufficient rules or guardrails and you don’t have environmental integrity,” but said he wants to establish a system that is tightly controlled.
“I met with the secretary general yesterday and he was very clear that he is not opposed to all of them,” Kerry said, referring to the carbon offset programs. “He’s opposed to those who are screwing things up, but we talked about the strictest possible accountability, and I’m absolutely convinced that’s one of the few ways we have to be able to produce the amount of capital we need to accelerate. this transition.”
The International Energy Agency said last month that governments would need to triple their annual investments in clean energy to $4 trillion by 2030 if the world is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. But it only hopes that the global investments in low-carbon energy increase to 2 trillion dollars. a year until the end of the decade.