The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and former Secretary of State under President Obama was caught by The Glasgow Guardian’s News team, speaking with them briefly.
John Kerry was spotted by chance outside The Dirty Duchess, across the road from Argyle Street’s Tesco Express by ourselves, part of the News team: Deputy News Editor Ollie Rudden and Reporter Athina Bohner.
After Athina cheerfully said hello, Kerry turned around and greeted the news duo with a happy wave. Still stunned by whose presence we may be in, we had to convince ourselves he was who we thought he was, and within seconds, we were chasing after him down Argyle Street, doing all we could to secure a comment from the Presidential Envoy.
To their and other passerbys’ disbelief, Kerry had no security with him and could easily be approached by anyone on the right side pavement of Argyle Street. Kerry went to talk to police officers asking how to cross the barricaded road while a photographer was frantically telling the officer that the individual actually was John Kerry, insisting: “This is John Kerry, the Secretary of State, you do realise that, don’t you?”
After Kerry shook someone else’s starstruck hand, Ollie asked Kerry himself – “Are you John Kerry?” – to which John Kerry replied in a cool, somewhat humorous manner: “I wish I was.”
Other journalists had their questions ignored; particularly those along the lines of the conference: “How are you finding COP26 so far?”, and “Have you spoken to Mr Biden so far?”, and “What do you think of India’s contributions?” (a reference to India’s pledge to have net zero carbon emissions by 2070, 20 years later than the COP26 climate conference target). To these he replied, stating that he was “not doing an interview right now”.
He was then asked by another journalist whether he was heading to the restaurant across the road, and where his bodyguards are (which he tried his best to ignore). Ollie jokingly threw in that he surely didn’t need any as “he’s John Kerry!”.
Athina then took the opportunity to ask John Kerry: “How’s your day so far?” to which Kerry replied: “Really great so far”, offering a big thumbs up and smile.
She then asked what he was most looking forward to at the climate summit, to which Kerry responded: “I’m most excited for getting it done!” Ironically, the entire interaction between John Kerry and the startled public took place while a protester held a handwritten poster behind him which said “Just F****** Do Something”.
After answering Athina’s questions Kerry then left to cross the police barricade on Argyle Street. Left in a state of excited shock afterwards, we still couldn’t quite believe what we’d seen. We’d been out reporting anyway in Kelvingrove Park on a spark climate protest, but perhaps hanging around closer to Argyle Street is a better tactic just now…
John Kerry is currently the U.S Special Climate Envoy for Climate. He was previously the 68th US Secretary of State (2013 to 2017) under President Barack Obama. He was also a former US Senator representing Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013. He was the Democratic nominee for President in 2004 but lost to incumbent George W. Bush.