Secretary Kerry Delivers a Video Greeting to Climate Partners

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 23, 2015

Hi, everybody. It's a privilege to join you as part of our Climate Partners campaign. Climate change is a crisis that waits for no one, and it respects no border. Perhaps most urgently, we are reminded that no one nation — acting alone — can meet this challenge. That’s why the United States is committed to working with you as "climate partners" toward a global solution to this urgent threat. The science of climate change is beyond doubt — it is loud, it is clear, it is warning us, it is compelling us to act. And scientists agree that, if we continue down the same path we're on today, the world as we know it will change — and it will change dramatically for the worse.

You don't need a Ph.D. to see for yourself that our world is actually already changing. Fourteen of the 15 warmest years on record have occurred since the year 2000 — with last year the warmest of all. It seems like every year we're reading that that year was the warmest of all until the next year. That's a warning sign. Both South Africa and Brazil are experiencing some of the worst droughts in decades. And the historic droughts in parts of the world are matched only by the historic floods in others. Last September, heavy rain in Jammu and Kashmir states in India caused the worst flooding those states had seen in 50 years. I want to emphasize: There’s nothing preordained about the course that we’re on. The challenge we face may be immense, but it’s not insurmountable. We created the problem, and we can solve the problem. And this one has a ready-made solution that is staring us right in the face:

That solution is the transformation of energy policy — energy policy is the solution to the challenge of climate change. And it just so happens that the chance to develop clean and renewable sources of power is also one of the greatest economic opportunities of all time. Just think: The global energy sector is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known. We're talking about a multi-trillion- dollar market with billions of users, a bigger one by far than the one that was created by the high-tech boom of 20 years ago. Between now and 2040, investment in the energy sector is expected to reach nearly $20 trillion. Imagine the opportunities for clean energy. Imagine businesses that can be launched, the jobs that can be created, in every corner of the globe.

Now, I want to be very clear: President Obama and I understand the feeling of a lot of nations that big nations did this, they need to solve it. Well, all nations have unique strengths and challenges. And for developing countries, eradicating poverty and promoting shared prosperity for your citizens are, obviously, top priorities. The United States and other industrial nations did a lot, needless to say, to create the very problem that I'm talking about long before people really understood the consequences of the choices that were being made, way back in the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. But, as a result of that, we do recognize the duty that we have now to lead in the global response and to help other countries develop and deploy clean energy solutions.

That is precisely why we are finding opportunities now to reduce our emissions at home in every economic sector and source — through tripling wind energy, increasing solar energy by a factor of 10, setting historic fuel standards for cars and trucks, implementing strong energy efficiency standards, and creating groundbreaking regulations to cut carbon pollution by 30 percent from U.S. power plants. But I emphasize again: No single country can solve this problem alone. If we're going to reduce emissions worldwide, transform global energy economies, and help the most vulnerable nations and people cope with the effects of climate change, then we're going to need leadership and action from everyone, all of us working together every day. And because this has to be a truly all-hands-on-deck effort, I invite all of our partners — businesses and industry groups, mayors, governors, throughout the United States and around the world — to announce their own targets for climate action.

Together, we can create a grass-roots movement towards an ambitious, fair international climate agreement in Paris this December, an agreement that puts us on a path toward a low-carbon global economy. That's what our Climate Partners campaign is all about — to help move us forward together toward a clean and prosperous future. We need partners to help contribute to this effort by tackling climate change in your businesses and communities and spreading the word wherever you can about the benefits of climate action. So I congratulate you all for what you're doing and I urge you to keep on going. Because as far and as fast as you go, the United States intends to be there right alongside you. Thank you and keep up the great work.