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John Kerry says US determined to keep commitments to COP21

STR | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the majority of U.S. citizens wish to keep to the commitments their country has made to fight climate change.

In a speech delivered on Wednesday at the COP22 climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, Kerry said that "no one should doubt the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States who know climate change is happening and who are determined to keep our commitments that were made in Paris."

The landmark Paris Agreement was reached at the end of last year and came into force this month. Under the deal, world leaders have agreed to make sure global warming stays "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and to "pursue efforts" to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Kerry's remarks came in the aftermath of President-elect Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton last week.

Noting that investment in renewable energy had hit nearly $350 billion in 2015, Kerry said he was confident about the future, "regardless of what policy might be chosen, because of the marketplace."

Wind power generation in the U.S. had tripled since 2008, he said, while solar generation had increased 30 times over. "And the reason both of those will continue is that the marketplace will dictate that, not the government."

Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, and has also raised eyebrows with his views on climate change and the environment. In 2012, he tweeted that the concept of global warming "was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."

"I want to acknowledge that since this COP started… an election took place in my country," Kerry said. "And I know it has left some here and elsewhere feeling uncertain about the future," he added. "I obviously understand that uncertainty."

Explaining that he would not speculate about the policies President-elect Trump would pursue, Kerry noted that during his time in public life, "one of the things I have learned is that some issues look a little bit different when you're actually in office compared to when you're on the campaign trail."

Climate change, Kerry went on to state, should not be a partisan issue.

"Let us make clear to the world that we will always remember the stakes," he went on to add. "Let us stand firm in support of the goals that we set in Paris and recommit ourselves to double our efforts to meet them."