Kerry: US will make up for 4 years of lost action on climate

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Wind turbines are seen on a dike near Urk, Netherlands, Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. A group of scientists, including five Nobel laureates, called Friday for more action to adapt the world to the effects of climate change, drawing comparisons with the faltering response to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of a major online conference on climate adaptation starting Monday and hosted by the Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE – The world must take decisive action to build resilience to the devastating effects of climate change, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told a global virtual summit Monday, pledging that President Joe Biden's new administration would play its role.

In a video message to the Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Dutch government, Kerry said, “We’re proud to be back (in the Paris climate accord). We come back, I want you to know, with humility, for the absence of the last four years, and we'll do everything in our power to make up for it.”

Biden, in his first hours in office last week, signed an executive order returning the United States to the historic 2015 Paris climate accord, reversing its withdrawal by Donald Trump, who ridiculed the science of human-caused climate change.

Kerry said the Biden administration is working to announce its own more ambitious target for cutting emissions soon.

Outlining the new administration's plans to promote climate adaptation, Kerry said it will “leverage U.S. innovation and climate data” to better understand and manage climate-related risks; increase the flow of finance to adaptation and resilience initiatives, work with institutions to improve resilience planning and promote greater collaboration.

Kerry was among world leaders who converged — virtually — on the Netherlands for the summit seeking to galvanize more action and funding to adapt the planet and vulnerable communities to the effects of climate change.

The meeting comes after a year in which the Earth hit or neared record hot temperature levels.

“We saw the heat waves. We saw the fires. We saw the (melting) Arctic,” top NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt said earlier this month about the effects of the warming.