John Kerry Laments ‘4 Terribly Lost Years’ Of Climate Change Setbacks Under Trump

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Jeremy Blum
·Reporter, HuffPost
·2 min read
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John Kerry, special envoy for climate in the Biden administration, addressed the environmental challenges facing the U.S. in an interview with Rolling Stone, making it clear that America needed to make up for the ground it had lost under Donald Trump.

“Donald Trump was an aberration,” Kerry said, contrasting the 45th president’s policies — which were generally more focused on benefiting polluting industries than the environment — with President Joe Biden’s agenda, which has emphasized climate change as a key national security policy. “He was a hiccup in the digestive system of history.”

Kerry stressed that recent consequences of climate change — including the wildfires that ravaged the West Coast in 2020 and natural disasters like Hurricane Maria — were evident, and America had been given a “grace moment” to make up for “four terribly lost years, destructive years, that had no basis in science, no basis in fact.”

“And that, unfortunately, unleashed among reluctant nations a permissiveness that expanded beyond just the United States’ absence,” Kerry said.

The former secretary of state brought up Biden’s initiative to convert America’s entire fleet of 500,000 school buses to electric alternatives by 2030 as an example of “good union, blue-collar, well-paying jobs” that would result from making the environment a priority.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 27. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington on Jan. 27. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

He also speculated that if the U.S and other global powers continue to invest in technologies such as carbon storage and electric vehicles, the effect would be akin to the Industrial Revolution, creating “such an economic shift in nations that no biased demagogue is going to be able to undo that ... because the marketplace will have made such a commitment and moved so far in its transformation.”

Finally, Kerry addressed COVID-19 and pointed out that the coronavirus and climate change were not mutually exclusive threats.

“Climate will augment potential for more pandemics,” he said. “Climate changes the cycle of nature, and when that cycle changes, certain diseases can spread more easily. So I think the pandemic has woken people up to the fragility of life itself, and the interconnectedness of nations in ways that just underscore we’re all in this together.”

Read the full interview here.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.