Former Secretary of State John Kerry is launching a new climate coalition, which includes several prominent politicians and celebrities, in an effort to “reach millions of people” and mobilize them in the battle against global warming.
The initiative, dubbed World War Zero, will officially launch Sunday, The New York Times reported. Its more than 60 founding members include former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.
Kerry, a Democrat who represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for almost three decades before joining President Barack Obama’s administration in 2013, told the Times that he and other coalition members plan to host meetings across the country starting in January with the aim of sparking conversations about climate change.
“We’re going to try to reach millions of people, Americans and people in other parts of the world, in order to mobilize an army of people who are going to demand action now on climate change sufficient to meet the challenge,” Kerry said.
Reacting to the news, Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist and Democratic presidential hopeful, praised Kerry and his new project.
The climate crisis is an international emergency—I’m glad to see my friend @JohnKerry bringing together so many leaders to fight “World War Zero” with their collective power. https://t.co/n5fj8pg62b
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) November 30, 2019
World War Zero’s launch precedes the start of the United Nations COP25 climate talks, set to begin in Madrid on Monday.
The U.N. said a primary objective of the talks is for signatories of the Paris climate agreement to take steps toward the “full operationalization” of the pact.
The U.N. Environment Programme said in a grim report last week that prompt and drastic action will need to be taken if human beings want to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Global temperatures are currently on track to rise as much as 5.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, the report warned.
“Countries simply cannot wait until the end of 2020, when new climate commitments are due, to step up action,” Inger Andersen, UNEP’s executive director, said in a statement. “They — and every city, region, business and individual — need to act now.”
Amid these calls for urgent action, President Donald Trump moved last month to formally withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement. It will take a year for the exit to be finalized.
The U.S. is the first country to withdraw from the global accord.