Kerry teases coming announcements to finance climate change policy in developing nations

GLASGOW, Scotland — Speaking during and immediately after a meeting of the High Ambition Coalition, a group of roughly 60 countries that advocate for the strongest possible policies to address climate change at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry hinted Tuesday that major announcements on climate finance are in the offing.

“A hundred billion dollars doesn’t do it folks,” Kerry said to a gaggle of press following the meeting at the conference, also known as COP26. Kerry was referring to the promise of $100 billion per year in financing for adapting to and mitigating climate change for developing countries, from developed countries at the last major round of climate negotiations in Paris in 2015. “It’s trillions of dollars that are needed. And the only way that we will get this done is if trillions of dollars are forthcoming. And they are. Tomorrow there will be an announcement. I’m not going to jump the announcement, but there are tens of trillions of dollars announced that are available to be invested in this transition.”

By “get this done,” Kerry means reaching an agreement in Glasgow during the next two weeks that will commit all countries to steep enough cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure the world doesn’t tip over into catastrophic climate change. Up until now, the lack of adequate financing to rapidly grow the economies of poor countries without resorting to using fossil fuels — the “transition” Kerry referred to — has been a major sticking point in negotiations. Large developing nations like India have shied away from making firm commitments to near-term emissions targets because of this. John Kerry at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Monday. (David Knowles/Yahoo News) It’s unclear who will provide the tens of trillions of dollars Kerry mentioned, but reading the tea leaves — especially his reference to investment — it sounds like the private sector will play a major role, providing loans as opposed to grants.

“Let me give you an example,” Kerry said, when asked by Yahoo News who would be providing the funds. “My office worked with the six largest banks in America –– Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, State Street, Bank of America and JPMorgan –– they publicly stood up a number of months ago, it wasn’t much noticed, and they announced that they will over the next 10 years, they will invest $4.1 trillion.”

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