US climate envoy aims to forge alliances at Dublin conference

John Kerry to persuade countries to adopt more ambitious carbon reduction targets

US climate envoy John Kerry to participate in Dublin Climate Dialogues online event. File photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty

US climate envoy John Kerry to participate in Dublin Climate Dialogues online event. File photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty

 

A conference with climate disruption as its theme, staged by Irish energy experts, has evolved into Dublin Climate Dialogues.

The view that the world was hopelessly off course in meeting emissions reduction targets and that the Paris Agreement was weak on delivery has prompted an expanded agenda at the event this week, to consider how to raise climate ambitions ahead of critical COP26 global negotiations in November.

The Government has backed the process as has the UK government, which, as COP26 hosts, will receive the Dublin declaration on how to progress matters after two days’ deliberation. The Dialogues have received notable endorsement, with US climate envoy John Kerry confirming he will participate in the virtual event.

In a series of whistle-stop visits to G7 countries, Kerry is attempting to forge an alliance to persuade bigger carbon-emitting countries to adopt more ambitious targets, including actions to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees.

Polluters

Critical to this is getting big carbon polluters, especially China, onside and framing international trade in a world seeking to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It requires a strong price on carbon.

That can only happen with national and international carbon price floors, and mechanisms to incentivise acceleration away from fossil fuels.

Kerry is trying to forge an alliance with the EU. Discussions have intensified recently but have not so far settled on a coherent policy for international trade that could penalise China for failing to make progress.

The EU and the Biden administration are assessing how to address carbon-intensive imported goods – and the degree of compulsion that may be applied, while not punishing developing countries unduly.

The Dublin conference will attempt to tease out the shape of possible border adjustments in a world seeking rapid decarbonisation.

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