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John Kerry says people would ‘feel better’ about the Ukraine war if Russia would reduce emissions

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Outgoing Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry claimed that people would “feel better” about the ongoing war in Ukraine if Russia would “make a greater effort to reduce emissions.”

“If Russia wanted to show good faith, they could go out and announce what their reductions are going to be and make a greater effort to reduce emissions now,” Kerry said during a foreign press briefing on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., his last as the SPEC, as he departed from the position Wednesday to reportedly join President Biden’s presidential re-election campaign.

“Maybe that would open up the door for people to feel better about what Russia is choosing to do at this point in time,” he said. 


Kerry’s remarks came after a Russian news agency reporter, Igor Naimushin, asked him about the U.S. relationship with Russia on his climate agenda. 

“I believe that Russia has the ability to be able to make enormous changes if it really wanted to. I mean, if Russia has the ability to wage a war illegally and invade another country, they ought to be able to find the effort to be responsible on the climate issue,” Kerry said. 

“And unfortunately, because of the actions that Russia took in an unprovoked, illegal war against another nation, we have not been engaged in discussions with Russia, sadly,” he continued. “I say “sadly” because it’s a loss for the world not to be able to have Russia acting constructively on this issue.”

Kerry at hearing

The comments were the latest example of Kerry warning about the climate change implications of war in Ukraine. 

Kerry previously came under fire after saying that a key consequence of the ongoing Ukraine war stemming from Russia’s invasion last year is increased global greenhouse gas emissions.

“Lots of parts of the world are exacerbating the problem right now, but when you have bombs going off, and you have damage to septic tanks or to power centers, etcetera, you have an enormous release of greenhouse gas, methane, all of the family of greenhouse gasses and the result is it’s adding to the problem,” Kerry said during a July 2023 interview with MSNBC.

John Kerry speaking

Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Kerry told multiple media outlets that he was concerned about emissions from a potential military conflict.


“Equally, importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus,” Kerry told BBC in February 2022. “You’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact. Hopefully [Russian President Vladimir Putin] would realize that in the northern part of his country, they used to live on 66% of a nation that was over frozen land. Now, it’s thawing.”

“I am concerned in terms of the climate efforts that a war is the last thing you need with respect to a united effort to try to deal with the climate challenge,” Kerry told Reuters in a separate interview that same day. “Obviously, we hope that we can compartmentalize, but it’s just made that much more difficult without any question.”

John Kerry Joe Biden

In 2021, Biden appointed Kerry to be the U.S. SPEC, a position that had not previously existed and did not require Senate approval.

Kerry traveled worldwide, attending high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements in an effort to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy alternatives.

Kerry’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report.

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