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Climate envoy John Kerry watches as President Biden speaks on Monday in Scotland. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Glasgow, Scotland — COP26 is barely underway but U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry is already looking ahead to what's next.

What they're saying: "What's really critical is making sure whatever promises and whatever ambition is put on the table here is empowered to execute," Kerry told Axios on the sidelines of the climate change gathering in Scotland.

  • "That means that countries that have raised their ambition, but which know that they need technical assistance, and finance, have got to get it," Kerry said.
  • "And our focus, our primary focus, will be marrying the trillions that will be on the table with the blended finance, the de-risking, the ... development banks, that make deals happen."

Zoom in: Kerry also name-checked a few of the countries and topics he's eyeing further work on, including India's 2030 renewables target, as well as Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa and others.

  • "So there's a big agenda, which is going to require a lot of cooperative work. That's the biggest single thing you can do is help the ambition to become real," he said.

Domestically, Kerry said he's expecting a lot of coordination with the Energy Department, noting he's hopeful about pending legislation in Congress to boost R&D work.

  • Asked how long he expects to remain special envoy, Kerry said, "I really haven't confronted that and I haven't taken it on with any specific term in mind." Then the former secretary of State added: "Not forever."

Go deeper

Nov 15, 2021 - Podcasts

Progressives worry about getting their spending agenda passed

House Democrats continue to push for a vote of that nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better spending bill. After months of wrangling, no date has been set and passage of President Biden’s massive agenda remains in question. So one question we’re asking this morning is: Is all the momentum lost?

  • Plus, IBM’s quantum computing ambitions.
  • And, Conclusions after the global climate summit.

Guests: Axios' Hans Nichols, Ina Fried and Ben Geman.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, Lydia McMullen-Laird, and Jayk Cherry. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 4 mins ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.