The Obama administration will do everything it can to implement the Paris agreement on global warming before president-elect Donald Trump assumes office, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday (13 November).
Trump has called climate change a 'hoax' and vowed to quit the landmark Paris agreement. According to a source on Trump's transition team, Trump is reportedly looking for ways to bypass a procedure to quit the agreement, Reuters reported.
The deal which came into effect this month requires countries to limit the global warming temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. This will also require moving away from fossil fuels.
Speaking during a visit to New Zealand just before leaving for Marrakesh, Morocco, to participate in climate talks between 200 countries, Kerry said he wanted to avoid speculation on what Trump might do about the deal and added that there was a difference between campaigning and governing. He made it clear that further action to prevent climate change should be a priority, adding that worldwide, there are more floods, fires and storms.
"The evidence is mounting in ways that people in public life should not dare to avoid accepting as a mandate for action," the US diplomat told reporters at a news conference in Wellington, New Zealand, with Prime Minister John Key.
He said: "Until 20 January when this administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibility to future generations to be able to address this threat to life itself on the planet."
His trip to New Zealand comes just two days after his Antarctica visit, during which he flew over the west Antarctic Ice Sheet, which could contribute to rising sea levels if it melts. He also spoke to research scientists on how fast climate change could take place.
Officials in Morocco have started working on a rule book to implement the Paris agreement.