Statement for the North American Energy Summit

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
June 12, 2014

Good morning.  I apologize that my schedule doesn’t allow me to be with you today.  With Vice President Joe Biden as your keynote speaker today, I know you’re in good hands – you’ll be hearing from someone who has been a leader in bringing our hemisphere together for decades, a leader who understands the vital importance of confronting our common energy challenges. 
It’s a privilege for both the Vice President and I to serve President Obama, who has demonstrated a clear commitment to greater energy security from day one.  Today, that commitment is clearly paying dividends.  Thanks to American ingenuity, smart public and private sector collaboration, and sound policy choices, the United States is on a far different energy path than we were a decade ago. 
We’ve increased natural gas production by around 25 percent since 2007.  We have increased our oil production by 1 million barrels per day in each of the last two years, and we are on track to replicate that this year.  At the same time, we have doubled renewable energy production from wind and solar. 
Energy production growth in the United States and in North America does not isolate us from global markets and prices, but it does make us more secure by reducing our exposure in case of a global crisis. 
Now that we are a global energy leader, we have greater ability to lead with the force of our example and take aggressive action to combat the devastating consequences of climate change.  This month, President Obama took the latest and most ambitious step by any American administration to meet our responsibilities to protect the climate, proposing limits that will reduce emissions from the U.S. power sector by 30 percent by 2030. 
As we strive to meet these goals, we realize that the United States cannot solve global climate challenges on our own.  Even if the United States somehow eliminated all of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions, it still wouldn’t be enough, given the enormous amount of carbon pollution coming from the rest of the world.  That is why we are pursuing the UN climate negotiations with vigor and determination to forge an ambitious global agreement in Paris next year. Global cooperation is a must and the United States, as ever, understands the unique responsibilities of global leadership. 
But when it comes to energy and climate change, American leadership is not simply an obligation; it is also an enormous opportunity.  The energy market is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known, with 37 trillion dollars in investment needed by 2035.  America’s unmatched ability to adapt and innovate gives us a remarkable advantage.  
These opportunities are more than mere numbers.  Here at home, they represent more jobs, more economic growth, more manufacturing, and a less carbon-intensive energy sector.  Regionally, given the strength of our trade and investment ties, improvements in America’s energy security mean greater success for the North American economy as a whole.  Globally, they mean our continent can be the world’s most reliable supplier of energy and a catalyst for action on climate change. 
The United States, Canada, and Mexico have already worked together to push for practical action through the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons.  We’ve worked together through the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce pollutants such as methane and black carbon, which, like HFCs are much more powerful warming agents than carbon dioxide. 
Mexico is a key partner in the U.S. initiative to advance low emission development strategies.  Canada and the U.S. work together as part of a global effort to use public resources to mobilize greater private investment for climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.
Over the past 20 years, Canada, the United States, and Mexico have re-imagined trade on our continent.  We’ve re-imagined and integrated entire industries, from agriculture to aerospace.  Today, we have the resources and the capacity to build on these ties and drive a global energy marketplace. 
That’s our responsibility.  That’s our opportunity.  Working together, our three countries can create a common energy future for our continent and a cleaner energy future for the world.  Thank you.