Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Clinton among John Kerry’s all-star ‘World War Zero’ climate coalition

Stars aim to win over those sceptical of need to cut carbon emissions by 2020

Lisa Friedman
Sunday 01 December 2019 13:31 GMT
Announcement comes as as diplomats gather in Madrid on Monday for global climate negotiations
Announcement comes as as diplomats gather in Madrid on Monday for global climate negotiations

John Kerry, the former US secretary of state, has formed a new bipartisan coalition of world leaders, military brass and Hollywood celebrities to push for public action to combat climate change.

The name, World War Zero, is supposed to evoke both the national security threat posed by the earth’s warming and the type of wartime mobilisations that Mr Kerry argued would be needed to stop the rise in carbon emissions before 2050.

The star-studded group is supposed to win over those sceptical of the policies that would be needed to accomplish that.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are part of the effort. Moderate Republican lawmakers like Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former governor of California, and John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, are also on the list.

Stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting and Ashton Kutcher round out the roster of more than 60 founding members.

Their goal is to hold more than 10 million “climate conversations” in the coming year with Americans across the political spectrum.

With a starting budget of $500,000 (£390,000), Mr Kerry said, he and other coalition members intend to hold town meetings across the country from January.

Members will head to battleground states key to the 2020 election, but also to military bases where climate discussions are rare and to economically depressed areas that members say could benefit from clean energy jobs.

The launch of the new group on Sunday comes as diplomats gather in Madrid on Monday for global climate negotiations aimed at strengthening the 2015 Paris Agreement, from which US president Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw next year.

Sarah Matthews, a spokeswoman for Mr Trump’s re-election campaign, said in a statement that the administration “continues to advance realistic solutions to reduce emissions while unleashing American energy like never before”.

Asked to comment on the new bipartisan group, she also criticised efforts to force the United States to cut emissions, arguing “the largest emitters like China and India won’t do the same”.

The New York Times

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