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Nations Don’t Need Carbon to Grow Their Economies, Says John Kerry | GZERO World

Nations don’t need carbon to grow their economies, says John Kerry

If John Kerry were only able to accomplish one thing as US climate change czar, he'd focus on changing the minds of the one-third of countries in the world that say they're "entitled" to pollute because they didn't before.

For Kerry, it's a fallacy that heavy carbon use is the only way to develop an economy because these nations can leapfrog from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

If we are able to cut by half the amount of carbon we're now releasing into the atmosphere by the end of the decade, he says, we may be able to meet the Paris Climate Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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Do Individual Carbon Footprints Really Matter? | Elizabeth Kolbert | GZERO World

Do individual carbon footprints really matter?

Do we spend too much time thinking about our own carbon footprints and not enough time thinking about bigger factors? Climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert acknowledges it's necessary for individuals to make changes in the way they live, but that isn't the number one priority.

"What would you do to try to move this battleship in a new direction? It requires public policy levers. And it requires … some pretty serious legislation." Ian Bremmer spoke with Kolbert, an award-winning journalist and author and staff writer at The New Yorker, on a new episode of GZERO World, airing on US public television.

Watch the episode: Can We Fix the Planet the Same Way We Broke It?

Biden says “America is back” on climate — do others buy it?

US President Joe Biden's highly anticipated two-day climate summit opens on Thursday, when dozens of world leaders and bigshot CEOs will gather (virtually) to try to save the planet. Above all, the US is looking to showcase the idea that "America is back" on climate change. But will other countries buy it?

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Paige Fusco

Who will still listen to the US on climate policy?

The Biden administration's much ballyhooed Earth Day Summit this week promises to be revealing. We're going to learn a little about what additional action a few dozen of the world's largest emitters are willing to take on climate change, and a lot more about which countries are willing to take such action at the behest of the United States.

Call it a situational assessment of the status of American power just shy of Biden's 100th day in office.

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Getty Images

Podcast: Can we fix the planet the same way we broke it? Elizabeth Kolbert on extreme climate solutions

Listen: In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer, Pulitzer Prize-winning climate journalist Elizabeth Kolbert assesses the current state of the climate crisis and answers a simple question: how screwed are we? And as the climate continues to warm at a record pace, she unpacks some of the more extreme climate solutions that some increasingly desperate nations are starting to consider. Such measures may sound like stuff of science fiction (see: injecting sulfur particles into the atmosphere or shooting millions of tiny orbital mirrors into outer space) as times become more desperate, their appeal is growing. Can we fix the planet the same way we broke it?

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Smoke is discharged from chimneys at a coal-fired power plant in China's Jiangsu province.

Reuters

How China fits into global climate change

Want to tackle climate change? If so you'll have to reach out to China, which is currently responsible for over a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. Beijing will certainly take your call, as climate is a huge priority for President Xi Jinping.

Xi has promised that China will go "net zero" — meaning its carbon emissions will be offset by equal amounts of either natural or tech-driven carbon capture — by 2060. Is a decade later than most of the top 10 polluting countries fast enough for the rest of the world? It is for the Chinese, who want to help but have their own ideas about how.

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Security personnel stand guard in front of the India Gate amid the heavy smog in New Delhi.

REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

India’s push for climate justice

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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Nuclear energy is costly — and still highly unpopular a decade after the Fukushima disaster in Japan. But it also generates emissions-free electricity. Will countries embrace nuclear power to fight climate change?

Gabriella Turrisi

After Fukushima, can nuclear power actually help save the planet?

Ten years ago this week, a powerful earthquake off the coast of eastern Japan triggered a tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, resulting in the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986. A decade and dozens of decommissioned reactors later, nuclear energy still supplies about 10 percent of global electricity, but its future remains uncertain.

As more countries pledge to curb emissions to mitigate climate change, nuclear could serve as a clean(ish) and reliable source of energy. But investing more in nuclear comes with tradeoffs.

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