Kerry, who served as the top U.S. diplomat under President
Barack Obama and was a leading player in brokering the Paris
Agreement in 2015, said the G20 nations are lagging behind on
emission reduction plans and financial pledges to poor countries
instead of setting a high bar for global climate action.
"The burden falls largely on the G20 to behave like adults, like
great nations ought to," Kerry told Reuters on the sidelines of
the U.N. climate talks in Madrid, referring to a grouping of top
"We are at a critical stage in terms of being behind (our
targets) and the absence of U.S. leadership is one component,"
Environment ministers from over 190 countries have arrived in
Madrid for the high-level part of the COP25 U.N. climate talks,
where government officials will take over from technical experts
the negotiation of outstanding issues around the Paris Agreement
to limit a rise in global temperatures to between 1.5 and 2
While the Trump administration has started the process to
withdraw the United States - the world's biggest historical
emitter of greenhouse gas emissions -- from the Paris agreement
next year, dozens of U.S. mayors and CEOs have maintained a
presence in Madrid as part of the "We Are Still In" coalition -
a group of states and cities that are still committed to Paris
Former New York Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate
Michael Bloomberg, who funds the initiative, arrived in Madrid
on Tuesday trying to convince other countries that the United
States is still a leader on climate change action despite
"We want the rest of the world to know that Americans are
continuing to lead on climate change -- even with a climate
denier in the White House," he said.
Negotiators worked late in the night on Monday to hash out rules
guiding the use of carbon trading markets to achieve Paris
emission reduction targets. They are also grappling with how to
address "loss and damage," a mechanism to compensate vulnerable
countries that have been struck by climate impacts.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; additional reporting by
Catarina Demony, Editing by William Maclean)
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