Kerry, UN boss show more cards ahead of COP28
Two pivotal figures in climate diplomacy are offering more information about what they want from COP28 and beyond.
Driving the news: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wants aggressive country plans that "plot a course for ending fossil fuels," he said Monday.
- Other asks for these plans include "clear 2030 and 2035 targets" and alignment with long-shot Paris goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C degrees, he said Monday.
Why it matters: The remarks signal what the UN boss hopes will follow the first "global stocktake" under the Paris agreement at COP28.
- That's the formal process to gauge where the world stands in the fight against climate change — and how to course correct.
Quick take: He's planting another flag ahead of expected battles at COP28 over whether the summit should endorse a phaseout of fossil fuels.
Catch up fast: Guterres spoke at the rollout of UN projections that Earth will warm catastrophically beyond Paris targets under nations' current pledges.
- These non-binding targets, called "nationally determined contributions," are central to the Paris Agreement's architecture.
What's next: He's heading to Antarctica in a pre-COP trip to see climate impacts up close as the UN tries to underscore the summit's stakes.
Meanwhile, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry revealed Monday that the U.S. will unveil a global strategy for advancing nuclear fusion at COP28, Axios' Alan Neuhauser reports.
State of play: It follows recent advances by the Energy Department and startups.
- Kerry called it an "emerging climate solution" in a statement alongside his visit to Massachusetts startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems yesterday.
Reality check: In theory, fusion could mean almost limitless carbon-free power without the dangerous waste from traditional fission reactors.
- But there's a long and uncertain scientific, technical and financial road to commercializing this long-elusive holy grail.
The intrigue: Guterres wants a path to ending fossil fuels. Kerry is more cautious and wants oil and gas companies to work toward capturing their emissions and heading toward net zero.
The bottom line: With nine days to go until COP28, we're learning more about what to expect — and where the fault lines lie.