John Kerry Suggests America's Real Beef With Russia Is Its High Carbon Emissions

AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Former Secretary of State John Kerry has suggested that America's real problem with Russia is their high rate of carbon emissions. 

During his final press conference on Wednesday as Joe Biden's Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Kerry said that given Russia's willingness to wage a war in Ukraine, they should also step up their efforts to combat so-called climate change: 

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I believe that Russia has the ability to be able to make enormous changes in what they really want to do. I mean, if Russia has the ability to wage a war illegally and invade another country, they ought to find the effort to be responsible on the climate issue. Unfortunately, because of the actions that Russia took in an unprovoked, illegal war against another nation, we have not been engaged in discussions with Russia.

Kerry added that if Russia would only show "good faith" on the climate issue, then people may be more sympathetic to the country's illegal invasion of a sovereign country: 

Sadly, and I say sadly, obviously, because it’s a loss for the world not to be able to have Russia acting constructively on this issue, but we need every country, including Russia. Russia is one of the largest emitters in the world. If Russia wanted to show good faith, they could go out and announce what their reductions are going to be and make a greater effort to reduce emissions. Maybe that would open up the door for people to feel better about what Russia is choosing to do at this point in time.

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It is not the first time that Kerry, who departed his position to join Biden's 2024 presidential campaign, has complained about Russia's impact on global emissions. 

Back in 2022, he bemoaned the Russian invasion on the grounds that it would be bad for the environment rather than the hundreds of thousands of lives lost: 

Massive emissions consequences to the war, but equally importantly you're going to lose people's focus. You're going to lose, certainly, big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact.

So, you know, hopefully I think President Putin would realize that in the northern part of his country, they used to live on – 66% percent of a nation that was over frozen land. Now it's thawing and his infrastructure is at risk and the people of Russia are at risk. And so I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.

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Despite formally leaving the administration, Kerry will carry on his advocacy for green energy policy. According to The Financial Times, Kerry is planning to shift his focus to raising capital to help accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources. His replacement as Climate Envoy will be Hillary Clinton's former campaign manager, John Podesta. 

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