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US Climate Envoy in Brussels to Meet With EU Leaders

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, left, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, center, and European Commissioner for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans are seen prior to a meeting in Brussels, March 9, 2021.

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry was in Brussels Tuesday to discuss transatlantic cooperation with European Union (EU) officials and U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to rejoin the global climate change effort.

Speaking to reporters alongside EU climate chief Frans Timmermans, Kerry reiterated that climate is "one of the most important issues" that Biden's "administration intends to deal with."

Kerry said the climate summit scheduled for November of this year in Glasgow, Scotland “is the last, best opportunity that we have and the best hope that the world will come together and build on [the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference agreement reached in] Paris.”

Kerry said the Paris agreement did not go far enough, noting that if all the parties were doing everything in the Paris agreement — which they are not — the world would still see a warming of 3.7 degrees or more.

Biden had the U.S. rejoin the Paris climate accord in the first hours of his presidency, undoing the country's withdrawal ordered by predecessor Donald Trump.

Kerry also met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and joined a weekly commission meeting on transatlantic climate action.

Before the meeting, von der Leyen referred to Kerry as “an old friend,” and described a phone conversation she had with Biden last week, in which, she said, the U.S. president told her the U.S. and the EU are working towards the common goal of becoming climate neutral, which she said was “music to my ears.”

The 2015 Paris climate change accord commits countries to put forward plans for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels.