Former Secretary of State John Kerry lambasted the entire world for its failure to act on climate change on Sunday, saying the planet was “way, way behind” on its efforts to tackled the phenomenon and things were rapidly getting “worse, not better.”
Kerry spoke to “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Sunday, just before the start of the United Nations’ latest round of climate talks and shortly after he unveiled a new initiative to address the phenomenon. Todd specifically pointed to the actions of President Donald Trump, who formally began to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement last month, but Kerry said the issue was larger than one world leader.
“It’s not just a president, Chuck,” the former secretary of state said. “There are great efforts out there, many environmental groups, young people in particular. But the simple reality is we are way behind, way behind the 8-ball. Things are getting worse, not better.”
Kerry launched a new climate coalition called World War Zero on Sunday that includes founding members from across the political spectrum, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Republican members include Cindy McCain, wife of the late Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“We’re going to try to reach millions of people, Americans and people in other parts of the world, in order to mobilize an army of people who are going to demand action now on climate change sufficient to meet the challenge,” Kerry told The New York Times last month.
Kerry doubled down on his plan during Sunday’s interview, saying the campaign required global “decision-making and organization and efforts that are just not taking place.”
“We have our unlikely allies coming together here, there’s no group that has people as diverse as ours in terms of nationality, age, gender, ideology, background, life experience,” he said. “And all of these people have come together saying: ‘We’ve got to treat this like a war.’”
The World War Zero initiative launched just days before the United Nations holds its annual climate talks in Madrid, where world leaders will seek, once again, to dramatically scale back the use of fossil fuels in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Scientists have warned for years that the planet is on track to blow past the goals laid out in the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, and the UN said in a report last month that emissions were still rising dangerously and the outlook for the world was “bleak.”
“The point of no return is no longer over the horizon,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters in Madrid on Sunday. “It is in sight and hurtling toward us.”