Meeting With U.S. NGO and Industry Leaders

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Vienna, Austria
July 22, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Listen, I just wanted to come by and say thank you to all of you. There are different types of stakeholders here, obviously – some of you representing industry and some NGO types and others. But all in all you’re all arguing the same arguments and you’re all here to get this done. I think we would not be where we are without your serious engagement in this.

And I think particularly for the industry folks here, as I’ve learned and been sensitized to today, I think there are, as you know, some suspicions and undercurrents that the United States pushes this because we have the patents and we’re going to get the jobs and we make the money and blah, blah, blah. And that’s not accurate. I mean, it’s accurate we do have a lot of advantages and we’re certainly the leaders, but I don’t think anybody here is not motivated by the overall objective. And I think the more we can emphasize that, the more we’re not highlighting the more sensitive components of it. I think really arguing to people their benefits and their jobs and their quality of life and their growth is probably the better way to proceed.

But I sense – I just had a very good meeting with the Pakistanis, who heretofore I think have been a problem, but I think the prime minister reached them and they basically were ready to sign the agreement then and there so.

PARTICIPANT: Did you do it? (Laughter.) Gina would have gotten it signed. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: He told me that yesterday morning that it depends on how you do. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: So we’ll see. And I met with the Saudis. The Saudis – I also – I met with the deputy crown prince. They’re very cooperative and on board. So I sort of sense that with the basket issue resolved that we kind of break the dam a little bit here and kind of move towards Kigali with a little momentum would be my judgment.

So I don’t need to tie you up a long time. Are there any questions anybody has or any comments, thoughts, about how we need to approach this, things we might do, think about in the next days or our team needs to?

PARTICIPANT: One comment is that the Federated States of Micronesia was the first proposal on the table and it always would be good to reward the islands for their creativity and their endurance.

SECRETARY KERRY: That’s a really good thought. I couldn't agree with you more. I met with them at great length in Paris and we had a lot of dealings with them in Paris to try to work their needs. But they’re really under siege and they truly feel under-appreciated and under-respected, so I’m 100 percent with you. That’s a good point.

PARTICIPANT: Mr. Secretary, Kevin Fay with The Alliance and I was in the ‘88 hearing as well in the room, so --

SECRETARY KERRY: And you remember that.

PARTICIPANT: I do remember it.

PARTICIPANT: We’ve got the old guy sitting there, not me. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: And the industry group has enjoyed working --

SECRETARY KERRY: We started when we were 10. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: That’s right. And we’ve worked very hard over the last several years, worked very closely with you and the agency and other governments now as well, and we too want to see the success that you described in your remarks. Our motto has been that it’s good when the leaders of the free world know how to spell HFCs and pay attention, and yet you’re very correct in terms of the success of this treaty has been a collective success because of all the work that we’ve all put in together on it. And so we very much appreciate the effort that the Administration has put in to bring this – because it’s very important from a clarity standpoint that we get to an agreement that’s workable, that has a long-term view, and gets you the environmental success but also promises the economic success as well.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, no premature celebrations, folks. My experience in these things is there’s always a – people know how to find proxies to make their arguments and things surface from a different corner than you expect it. So we need to just stay very united and be attentive and keep moving carefully.

PARTICIPANT: We did have one request: Could you loan us your plane for Kigali? (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I got news for you: You industry guys can do better than my 757. (Laughter.) I’ve been logging --

PARTICIPANT: You can loan it to EPA and we can --

SECRETARY KERRY: I’m running around the world representing United States, home of Boeing, and I think I should be flying around in a Dreamliner, a 787. (Laughter.) This thing’s 30 years old.

PARTICIPANT: Well, the budget that passed --

SECRETARY KERRY: You don’t want it. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: The budget that passed said that nobody in EPA can use a plane to travel for business. So I’m going to need rowboats. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Kigali is a great vacation place. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Secretary Kerry?

PARTICIPANT: Secretary Kerry, this is (inaudible) from Environmental Investigation Agency, one of the NGO types you mentioned. I would like to say that back in 2008 when we first started talking to you about the Montreal Protocol and phasing down HFCs, I mean, no one could spell HF – hydrofluorocarbons. We made a great deal of progress today and the Montreal Protocol is trending right now on Twitter, so that’s great.

But what I would like to say is as you are talking to A5s, I think while talking to non-A5s it’s important to stress that although we can’t buy stuff blind, per unit dollar this is the most cost-effective climate action --


PARTICIPANT: -- that can be taken. And I think most of us agree on that, but there are certain countries that probably still need to be convinced, so if I could (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we’ll keep working on it. I tried to hit on that a little bit earlier today. In all our meetings we were reminding people this is the biggest bang for the buck, the cheapest big gain you get. You’re right; good point.

Anybody else?

PARTICIPANT: One thing, Secretary Kerry. Sam LaBudde with IGSD. If no one else tells you, you have exceptional support staff. I’ve spent 30 years in the NGO space badgering the U.S. Government and other foreign governments to do better. You have excellent people representing you, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the top-down contributions you’ve given to this (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: We really appreciate that.

PARTICIPANT: No, it’s – it has the added benefit of being true.

SECRETARY KERRY: Sam, didn’t you once show a video on tuna or something?

PARTICIPANT: Yes, and that was also – (laughter) – that was also 1988, when you were chairing the Senate (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: Chairing the fisheries --

PARTICIPANT: Yes, sir. That’s right.

PARTICIPANT: Another old guy. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I remember you now. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: It was good work then; it’s good work now. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I am so delighted to see you still at it, seriously.

PARTICIPANT: Thank you, sir. Likewise, I’m sure.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thanks so much. Well, I don’t know, delighted to be at it. I don’t know (inaudible). I have a hardship duty tonight: I have to fly to Paris, folks. So – but any other questions? What’s that? If not, good luck.



PARTICIPANT: One quick comment. I think --


PARTICIPANT: (Inaudible) if we could make a point while also mentioning those important questions left to bring up innovation and mission innovation in particular, I think, has been something that came out of the Paris agreement. That would be useful (inaudible).

SECRETARY KERRY: By the way because it brings up a good point, the more you folks can help to shape the technology curve argument, which I don’t think is sharp enough on this yet, I think that’d be helpful. I think we can sharpen it in ways that diffuse the sort of corporate gain component of this to us domestically and shift it more to the – your gain in terms of how you can leapfrog and have better efficiency, lower cost, savings. I think all those things we could sharpen more, and I think it would really help us in the sales pitch.

PARTICIPANT: Let me just add quickly that Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Moniz just blogged about a new report that does exactly that, the Future of Air Conditioning report talks about that story. Both for ozone-depleting substances, we saw costs coming down for air conditioning and naturalization – and go ahead.

PARTICIPANT: But Secretary, you should also know that there’s representatives here of business groups and others that have put money on the table for research that are joining us in these efforts. Many of the individual businesses around here have been to the White House pledging commitments on their own regardless of what happens. So these are the committed talking to the people who should be committed.

SECRETARY KERRY: No, I know that. I know that. (Laughter.) Look, it’s a Friday in July, and you guys are here. (Laughter.)

PARTICIPANT: Yeah. I told you, we should be committed.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all.