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Climate Politics

John Kerry’s Latest Test Will Be Facing Victims of Climate Change

The top US climate diplomat heads to COP27 with historic legislation to combat rising temperatures, but there are growing calls to shell out billions to countries suffering the worst impacts.

John Kerry

John Kerry

Photographer: Linh Pham/Bloomberg

Much of Pakistan was still submerged last month as John Kerry, the top US climate diplomat, met with officials from the flooded country inside a cramped room at New York’s Plaza Hotel.  Pakistan’s foreign affairs minister soberly described the devastation: a third of the country underwater, 600,000 pregnant women displaced, residents ducking inside their boats to avoid perilously close power lines. 

The unprecedented monsoon rains that started in spring have left more than 1,700 dead and driven some 33 million people from their homes. “It’s truly sort of apocalyptic,” Bilawal Bhutto Zardari told Kerry. Bilawal emphasized the country’s commitment to a green transition but noted the obvious: Because Pakistan is responsible for less than 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions today, “even if tomorrow we all run on solar and wind, that is not going to solve much of the problem.”