John Kerry, the former US Secretary of State, will come to the Netherlands next week for the world’s first ‘Climate Adaptation Summit’, a summit for world leaders specifically about adapting to the consequences of climate change. Kerry has been the official climate envoy of US President Joe Biden for several days. A large number of government leaders will also participate.
The Global Center on Adaptation is organizing the summit next Monday in The Hague, although it will largely take place online due to the corona crisis. In addition to the presidents of India and Indonesia, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron will participate.
António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), and Kristalina Georgieva, Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will also attend the summit. The topic of discussion is better financing of the global approach to climate change, for example through the greening of banks and pension funds.
In the midst of world leaders, eyes are on veteran Kerry
At the opening of the summit, Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng will speak and Kerry will later address the international climate community on behalf of the new US administration. It will be looking forward with great attention to a change of course of the world’s largest economy, which withdrew from the Paris climate agreement under former US President Donald Trump. Immediately after the inauguration, Biden signed a presidential decree returning the United States.
That is step one in the recovery of confidence, Dutch climate envoy Marcel Beukeboom told NU.nl. Kerry also acknowledges that: “It’s easy for the US to reconnect, but it won’t be that easy to regain credibility.”
“We will have to increase ambition of every country on Earth to solve this problem,” said Kerry. “And my specific job will be to assist in the negotiations.” Kerry, now 77, is one of the architects of the Paris Agreement, which he signed in 2015 with his granddaughter on his lap.
Patrick Verkooijen, the CEO of the organizing Global Center on Adaptation, tells NU.nl that he is hopeful about recent developments in the world. “There is momentum and it is the first climate summit ever to focus specifically on adaptation – so that is also a special moment for the host country, the Netherlands. Moreover, the US and China are now sitting at the table together again,” says Verkooijen.
He does point out, however, that international funding for climate adaptation has declined last year, while it may have to be ten times as much by 2030, partly to combat the major consequences of climate change in Africa. “So the summit will only be a success if it leads to action, which actually improves the lives of millions of people on the front lines of climate change. Not only does that require funding, but we also need to set up and implement policy programs.”