Kerry to Urge Climate Change Action in Indonesia

Saturday, 15 Feb 2014 07:37 AM

 

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BEIJING — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Indonesia Saturday on a visit to highlight concerns over climate change, after agreeing with China to boost joint efforts to fight global warming.

"In order to meet the global and the economic challenge of climate change, undeniably all of us are going to have to do more," Kerry said earlier Saturday as he toured a factory on the edge of Beijing, before flying to Jakarta.

China and the United States are the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, accounting for some 40 percent of total planetary emissions.

Kerry's comments during a 24-hour visit to Beijing came as a thick grey smog shrouded the Chinese capital, with pollution reaching "hazardous" levels on unofficial air quality indexes late Friday.

"We both have a special role to play in reducing those emissions," Kerry told workers at the Cummins-Foton joint venture producing clean diesel engines.

In Jakarta, Kerry will hold talks with senior Indonesian leaders including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during his two-day visit to the country.

His visit came as Indonesia began to reopen airports following a volcanic eruption on the main island of Java that killed four people and forced mass evacuations.

Kerry is set to give a major speech on climate change on Sunday — one of a series planned throughout the year.

Indonesia is one of the world's biggest carbon emitters because of rampant deforestation, and many of the archipelago's 17,000 islands could be threatened by rises in sea levels.

Kerry announced Saturday he had agreed that China and the United States would join forces to share information on their efforts to combat climate change, ahead of 2015 UN-led efforts to set emission reduction goals for 2020.

"China and the United States will put an extra effort into exchanging information and discussing policies . . . to develop and lead on the standards" to be announced next year, Kerry said.

Long-time environmental advocate Kerry is currently weighing a controversial decision on whether the United States should approve the building of a trans-border oil pipeline from Canada.

The Keystone XL pipeline is set to bring oil from tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta down to refineries in the US state of Alberta, and then on further south to Texas.

A lengthy State Department review of the project found this month that it would not significantly impact the environment or add to global warming.

But environmental activists argue it will wreak lasting damage on sensitive wetlands, and that extracting oil from tar sands adds to greenhouse gases.

© AFP 2014

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