Not so fast: WH dodges on whether Biden agrees with Kerry nine-year deadline to avert climate catastrophe

Not so fast: WH dodges on whether Biden agrees with Kerry nine-year deadline to avert climate catastrophe

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated on Tuesday that President Biden agreed with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry’s assessment that climate policies need to be a priority, but stopped short of saying whether he is on board with the idea that there are less than ten years left to thwart the worst consequences of a global climate crisis.

Psaki said during a press briefing that she did not have a new timeline to offer up from here, but acknowledged that Biden agreed with the former U.S. Secretary of State on the urgency of climate change.

“The president agrees with former Secretary Kerry that it’s a crisis, that time is of the essence, we need to act quickly and that’s why climate is a key part of his agenda,” Psaki said.

U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry noted during an interview with CBS last week that scientists said 3 years ago that there were 12 years remaining to avoid the worst of a global climate crisis.

“We are now 3 years gone, so we have 9 years left,” he said.

Those predictions are based on a report issued in 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which does not suggest that anything bad will happen in 2030 – but rather that measurable effects on warming would occur between 2030 and 2050 unless mitigation efforts were undertaken to cut emissions.

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Kerry said that more needs to be done – and even pledges agreed to in the Paris Climate Accord may not be enough.

“Even if we did everything that we said we were going to do when we signed up in Paris we would see a rise in the Earth’s temperature to somewhere around 3.7 degrees or more, which is catastrophic,” Kerry told CBS.

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The Biden administration has made clear that climate change is a key priority among its agenda items.

Immediately after taking office Biden undid a number of policies implemented by the previous administration, including rejoining the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization. The president also revoked a key cross-border permit that has effectively ground work on the Keystone XL Pipeline to a halt.

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