JAKARTA, Indonesia – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Indonesia to discuss climate change and press authorities in Jakarta and throughout Asia to step up efforts to combat it.
Kerry is to deliver a speech on the matter here on Sunday, a day after winning an agreement with China to co-operate more closely in reducing the effects of climate change. U.S. officials are hoping that other nations, particularly those in the developing world, will follow suit.
In his speech, Kerry will make the case that climate change is real and is “pushing the planet toward a tipping point of no return, threatening not just the environment, but the global economy and our way of life,” a senior State Department official said. Kerry will also highlight ways in which Asian countries are particularly affected, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to preview the speech publicly.
Kerry arrived in Indonesia on Saturday, shortly after the U.S. and China issued a joint statement saying they had agreed on steps to carry out commitments to curb greenhouse gases that trap solar heat in the atmosphere. The steps include reducing vehicle emissions, improving energy efficiency of buildings and other measures.
China and the United States are the biggest sources of emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that cause the atmosphere to trap solar heat and alter the climate. Scientists warn such changes are already leading to drought, wildfires, rising sea levels, melting polar ice, animal extinctions and other extreme conditions.
The two governments will “contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge,” the statement said.
It cited the “overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels,” and said the two countries recognize the urgent need for action.
Beijing and Washington launched the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group last year. They promised progress in five areas — reducing vehicle emissions, advanced electric power grids, capturing and storing carbon emissions, gathering greenhouse gas data and building efficiency.