Remarks with BBC's Katty Kay at the UN Foundation Social Good Summit

Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
92nd Street Y
New York City, NY
September 18, 2016


SECRETARY KERRY: What a great welcome. Thank you all. How are you? Everybody good? That’s a lousy answer. How are you? (Applause.) Thank you.

QUESTION: That was a rock star welcome.

SECRETARY KERRY: You’re the rock star. Thank you. Happy to be here. I can’t see over this thing.

QUESTION: I’m very lucky to spend the next 20 minutes asking Secretary Kerry questions about American leadership, and particularly looking forward for American leadership and what it looks like. So let’s kick it off with that. American leadership, Mr. Secretary, is clearly very different today from how it was 10 years ago back in 2006. We were at the height of the surge, the Iraq War, President Bush was president. There was a strong anti-American feeling around the world. It’s different today. How? How? What, to you, constitutes American leadership today?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, first of all, if you’ll permit me, let me say thank you to everybody for being here at this summit. And I think the direct answer to your question is it’s different in so many – in every way possible, but different not just from 2001 and the immediate aftermath of Iraq and so forth. It’s really more profoundly different from the Cold War and from all of the post-war years from 1940s, ’45 forward, where the world was really recovering from the consequences of World War II, economic disaster, and we were really the only power basically standing in many ways. I think through most of the Cold War, therefore, there were bipolar choices. It was kind of the Soviet Union and the West, and much was defined as a consequence of that.

And then, of course, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, a whole host of forces were released that had been pent up, and dictatorships. I mean, Yugoslavia is a classic example of that and Tito, and that resulted in the emergence of a group of new nations, but also a set of forces – religious extremism, radicalism and so forth, some ideology – that changed the nature of conflicts. And I think coming into this century, the last 10 or 15 years have been defined not as much by nation-states going to war or in confrontation, though, obviously, we have Ukraine and we had moments of tension, but it’s by non-state actors – the Boko Harams, the al-Shabaabs, the al-Qaida, the ISIL now, Ahrar al-Sham – and we have 120 groups or more in Syria all carving out their own turf, all with different shades of agenda.

And you have that combined with a huge increase in corruption in many countries in the world, together with a huge youth bulge – maybe 1.5 billion young people under the age of 15 all at the same time that need to go to school and get a job and have an opportunity – and then you have the confluence of tribalism and an increase in radical religious extremism. And when you mix that together, it’s a very challenging, extraordinary, toxic mix, and that’s what we’re wrestling with.

I mean, even Syria represents not one war, it represents a confluence of conflict or of at least standoffs – for instance, Iran versus Saudi Arabia, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turkey, Islamism represented in a couple of countries supporting certain extreme groups over others, you have Sunni versus Shia, you have Saudi Arabia versus Iran. I mean, so you put that together and you try to find and navigate your way through it, which is why this ceasefire is so complicated with Russia, to come to current events.

But the bottom line is, Katty, I think that – I really believe – and I believe very strongly and I want to put this premise out there – I keep hearing people say well, maybe America is retrenching or the Obama Administration isn’t tackling this. I want you to know unequivocably, and I’ll argue this anywhere in the world, the United States of America is more engaged, more actively, more positively and constructively, in more places at the same time than at any time in American history, and you can document that by going from the challenge of DPRK and Kim Jong-un to the South China Sea, the East Japan Sea, or to Ebola, Zika, AIDS – what we’re doing now, the first generation of kids who will be born AIDS-free – to TPP, Europe, Brexit, the challenge of Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan. You run the list and we’re everywhere in those places working diplomatically to make a difference.

QUESTION: And yet, at the same time, as you pointed out, there is a myriad of conflicts, and we don’t have anymore of that good versus evil of the Soviet Union. I mean, after the end of the Cold War, people bought into the idea of the Western model of pluralism and the free markets, and democracy was the right model, it seemed, for a while. But we have had a re-emergence recently of more authoritarian powers – Russia throwing its weight around in the Middle East, China in the South China Seas. Does that concern you that we’re having – that they are winning hearts and minds? Is it a counterpoint to the American model?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, I don’t think they’re winning hearts and minds. I think they are leveraging in one case force, in the other a lot of money in order to be able to create relationships. It’s highly transactional. I think we, on the other hand, are still out there basing choices on values, and I think where people have an option to choose the values, they’ll choose them without any question. But in many places, they don’t have the option. The political space in China has been narrow. The political space in Russia is nearly nonexistent, and Russia is doing what it’s doing in Ukraine with little green men running around in uniforms without insignia on them pretending it’s – that they don’t belong to Russia. They’re not there.

So I don’t think the world buys into that. I am absolutely convinced, as I travel the world, people appreciate what the United States does in terms of our leadership. And I’ll tell you that if we don’t, in many cases – and I say this without arrogance; this is not a statement of America beating our chest – it just tends to be true that if we are not engaged in helping to push and force and cajole and leverage and use our power effectively, very often things don’t happen – not always, but very often they don’t happen.

And we’ve been deeply involved, for instance, in helping President Santos in Colombia to be able to leverage the end of 50 years of civil war. I just held a demining event today with my colleague from Norway, the foreign minister, where we are coalescing countries, and we had a donor conference today to try to get rid of mines because 11,000 Colombians have been killed with kids stepping on mines that were laid years ago and people don’t know where they are or what’s happening. In Cambodia, you had this. Afghanistan, you have this. So we’re leading in those kinds of things.

At PEPFAR in Africa, we are literally – we are on the brink of having the first generation of children born AIDS-free in Africa because of what we have done with PEPFAR, with the effort to build a healthcare structure. (Applause.)

So – last year, you all remember at Christmastime last year there were predictions of – I think the year before now – it’s passing so fast – but their predictions were a million people were going to die in western Africa because of Ebola. Well, President Obama had the courage to send 3,000 American troops there. We built healthcare delivery capacity working with the French and working with the British, who deserve enormous credit both equally. They – we turned that around and we didn’t lose anywhere near that, and we ended it as a potential scourge that could have gone global. So that’s where the leadership is so critical, and that’s where we are engaged again and again and place after place.

QUESTION: You’ve described, I think, crises in every continent of the world. I think you didn’t get to Australia, and I’m not sure if that counts, but --

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, the crisis there is they led us to the (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: That they’re worried about. How do we keep focused on – and if you took a polling of the next generation from around the world, the kinds of intra-issues that people – the big, impractical issues that people are concerned about – corruption, social inequality, climate change, education of course, gender equality – how do diplomats like yourself keep focused on those issues, when every day there seems to be – and I’ve never known a time like this – there seems to be some new, immediate crisis that we have to --

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we multi – I mean, we’re good at multitasking, actually. We are. We have not hesitated on any one of those issues that Katty just mentioned. In every bilateral meeting that I have, I will raise – people join – just this morning, I just met with – we just had a trilateral with the Japanese and with the Koreans, and I raised the issue of HFCs and the Montreal Protocol, of the international airlines agreement on airline contribution to emissions reduction, and on their joining the Paris Agreement so that that becomes effective this year.

So we’re constantly pushing out all these agenda. We are the major global leader on anti-human trafficking. We issue an annual report. Our people in the State Department are working on it year-long in order to tally up what other countries are doing and try to create accountability.

So we do a lot of things all at the same time. That’s the work of the State Department. And we do it all, I might add to you, on one penny on the dollar of American taxpayer money, which is frankly absurd in today’s world where we are all interconnected, and where the success of any of these countries in Africa or anything in the Middle East or South Central Asia or Asia has an impact on us, and whether or not those kids go to radical religious extremism and strap a suicide vest around them or whether or not they will join the community of nations as an educated person to some degree depends on our meeting the 2030 goals that we’re here to talk about tonight. That’s (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: So, full disclosure: My father was a diplomat. I had – it’s in my DNA. But there is a feeling in the United States amongst some people at the moment that the era of diplomacy is over, that we shouldn’t even be talking to some of America’s adversaries like Russia and Iran, some people even suggest China.

How do you counter that when you have a mood at home which – and you can understand to some extent a reluctance amongst the American public after a long engagement in the Middle East that has not gone as well as one might have hoped for – a mood at home that is less diplomacy, more focus inwardly?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, because a lot of people define our engagements abroad in the context of dropping bombs on people and being engaged in a war. And if people were to have a better sense that we could do diplomacy which is helping to educate people and build healthcare capacity and create stability and show people how technology can lend itself to a transparency in governance and accountability in governance, then we can begin to more effectively change some of these places.

But I’ll tell you, we have learned if – you can’t shut off the world. You can’t – 95 percent of the world’s customers live in other countries. People are fighting this concept of trade, but it’s – the trade is not the problem. It’s how we treat workers who are dislocated by transition or what we do with people to be able to not just see the 1 percent – the upper 1 percent of American income-earners doing well while everybody else is either struggling to hold where they are or falling behind. That’s a problem of our tax code. It’s a problem of our political finance system. It’s a problem of a whole bunch of other things, but not the fault of trade itself. It’s because we don’t have a strong enough safety net to help people go to school, get ongoing education, find a job at age 45 or 50 or whatever it is, be able to move into another sector. And there’s so many other things that people could be doing than we ask them to do.

So I think that there are huge opportunities out there right now. A lot of the world is still living on a dollar a day, two dollars a day. There are millions of people to bring in from poverty, which means there are schools to be built, hospitals to be built, doctors to be trained, infrastructure to be built. There’s a world to develop out there, and that’s, again, what 2030 is trying to talk about.

So if our vision will just be a little less narrow or myopic and people who run around saying, “No, we just got to take care of ourselves -- ” there is no way just to take care of yourself in today’s world. You will not grow your economy. You will not build people (inaudible). No way. (Applause.)

QUESTION: One of the issues that comes up in polling time and time again, the interest – and I just want to focus on one issue because we could have addressed a million – climate change, whichever – is social inequality.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: As an American – as the senior American diplomat, how much can you do? What’s achievable for the U.S. on this issue?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we are doing an enormous amount. I mean, we are – we have the Millennium Challenge Corporation. We do put some 22 billion-plus or so into direct aid programs that help to develop people, build up capacity, do gender-enhancing, participation in countries, things like that. There are a lot of things that we’re able to leverage. The problem is it is at a scale that is just not going to get the job done. If you have 1.5 billion kids that need to go to school tomorrow, it isn’t going to do you a lot of good to have a 20-year horizon for those 1.5 billion because they’re going to be 30 and whatever, and who knows what choice they’re going to make in life if we don’t do a better job of moving faster.

So I think what we need, frankly, is a larger commitment by the United States to help lead other countries. At the end of World War II, we did the Marshall Plan. And people were not for it, by the way. Harry Truman had to work like hell to get that through and it was – many people sort of resented the notion because we turned around and helped Germany rebuild. We helped Japan rebuild. But guess what? Today, Germany and Japan, two of the strongest allies we have, two of the most leading economies in the world, two democracies working. It was an investment well worth the lending that we did. We didn’t even give them money. It was a lending program – concessional lending for low-interest loans.

We should be gathering the many more developed countries of the world now in an effort to grow what we knew would grow back, what we could do ourselves. The Global Fund, all of these kinds of things you need a greater effort, because you got a lot of countries who would like to reduce their emissions, like to be responsible nations to live up to the Paris Agreement, and they simply don’t have the money to do anything to provide their electricity except take the cheapest source of power, which they’re told is coal. The problem is it’s not when you tally up the damage from all the storms, the droughts, the fires, the infestation of new diseases that live because it’s warmer – they used to die – I mean, all these other costs are the true cost of climate change. And most cost accounting when people make power choices have no connection to the true cost. So that’s part of what we have to change, is how people approach and think about it.

Again, I have to say to everybody the United States showed leadership. I went to China within two monthsof being appointed Secretary. We sat with the Chinese and got them to agree for the first time ever to a working group on climate change geared to try to make sure our presidents could stand up in two years, in one year, and make an announcement that could rock the world with China and the United States joined together.

Why was that important? Because only a few years earlier in Copenhagen at the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, it crashed. And it crashed because China was on the other side. China was part of the G77 that was fighting against anything happening. Nothing happened. So we changed that. President Xi and President Obama stood up and announced to the world China and the United States cooperating on climate, both setting their targets for reductions which then led other nations to say, whoa, this is serious business; Paris could actually happen.

And we went to Paris and got an historic agreement with almost 200 nations signing on, each to their own reduction plan, but with a fixed way of reviewing it and trying to hold people accountable. And in the end, it will not be governments who save us with respect to the issue of climate change and keeping the Earth’s temperature under 2 degrees Centigrade. It will be the private sector that responds to the message that was sent in Paris that there’s going to be a new paradigm, and now there is a race of investment, money, venture capital, angel investors, others beginning to look for the – who’s going to solve the battery storage problem, who’s going to provide the next generation of solar panels that are more efficient and that are less costly. And that’s what’s going to revolutionize the planet and save us on climate change.

But we need leadership that understands it and it’s astounding to me that we’ve had people running for president of recent vintage who – (laughter) – don’t even acknowledge that climate change is taking place. So we need (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: I’m going to let you go, but I’m not going to let you go before embarrassing you by quoting aNew York Times editorial which does about – there was an editorial from The New York Times very recently about the Secretary which did say that you sometimes pursue unwinnable goals, but it gives you a lot of credit for Iran and Paris, and it says, “There is something heroic about the persistence, hard work, and faith in diplomacy that you show.” Secretary Kerry, thank you from all of us.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. (Applause.)

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thanks very much. Take care. Thank you.SECRETARY KERRY: What a great welcome. Thank you all. How are you? Everybody good? That’s a lousy answer. How are you? (Applause.) Thank you.

QUESTION: That was a rock star welcome.

SECRETARY KERRY: You’re the rock star. Thank you. Happy to be here. I can’t see over this thing.

QUESTION: I’m very lucky to spend the next 20 minutes asking Secretary Kerry questions about American leadership, and particularly looking forward for American leadership and what it looks like. So let’s kick it off with that. American leadership, Mr. Secretary, is clearly very different today from how it was 10 years ago back in 2006. We were at the height of the surge, the Iraq War, President Bush was president. There was a strong anti-American feeling around the world. It’s different today. How? How? What, to you, constitutes American leadership today?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, first of all, if you’ll permit me, let me say thank you to everybody for being here at this summit. And I think the direct answer to your question is it’s different in so many – in every way possible, but different not just from 2001 and the immediate aftermath of Iraq and so forth. It’s really more profoundly different from the Cold War and from all of the post-war years from 1940s, ’45 forward, where the world was really recovering from the consequences of World War II, economic disaster, and we were really the only power basically standing in many ways. I think through most of the Cold War, therefore, there were bipolar choices. It was kind of the Soviet Union and the West, and much was defined as a consequence of that.

And then, of course, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, a whole host of forces were released that had been pent up, and dictatorships. I mean, Yugoslavia is a classic example of that and Tito, and that resulted in the emergence of a group of new nations, but also a set of forces – religious extremism, radicalism and so forth, some ideology – that changed the nature of conflicts. And I think coming into this century, the last 10 or 15 years have been defined not as much by nation-states going to war or in confrontation, though, obviously, we have Ukraine and we had moments of tension, but it’s by non-state actors – the Boko Harams, the al-Shabaabs, the al-Qaida, the ISIL now, Ahrar al-Sham – and we have 120 groups or more in Syria all carving out their own turf, all with different shades of agenda.

And you have that combined with a huge increase in corruption in many countries in the world, together with a huge youth bulge – maybe 1.5 billion young people under the age of 15 all at the same time that need to go to school and get a job and have an opportunity – and then you have the confluence of tribalism and an increase in radical religious extremism. And when you mix that together, it’s a very challenging, extraordinary, toxic mix, and that’s what we’re wrestling with.

I mean, even Syria represents not one war, it represents a confluence of conflict or of at least standoffs – for instance, Iran versus Saudi Arabia, Kurd versus Kurd, Kurd versus Turkey, Islamism represented in a couple of countries supporting certain extreme groups over others, you have Sunni versus Shia, you have Saudi Arabia versus Iran. I mean, so you put that together and you try to find and navigate your way through it, which is why this ceasefire is so complicated with Russia, to come to current events.

But the bottom line is, Katty, I think that – I really believe – and I believe very strongly and I want to put this premise out there – I keep hearing people say well, maybe America is retrenching or the Obama Administration isn’t tackling this. I want you to know unequivocably, and I’ll argue this anywhere in the world, the United States of America is more engaged, more actively, more positively and constructively, in more places at the same time than at any time in American history, and you can document that by going from the challenge of DPRK and Kim Jong-un to the South China Sea, the East Japan Sea, or to Ebola, Zika, AIDS – what we’re doing now, the first generation of kids who will be born AIDS-free – to TPP, Europe, Brexit, the challenge of Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan. You run the list and we’re everywhere in those places working diplomatically to make a difference.

QUESTION: And yet, at the same time, as you pointed out, there is a myriad of conflicts, and we don’t have anymore of that good versus evil of the Soviet Union. I mean, after the end of the Cold War, people bought into the idea of the Western model of pluralism and the free markets, and democracy was the right model, it seemed, for a while. But we have had a re-emergence recently of more authoritarian powers – Russia throwing its weight around in the Middle East, China in the South China Seas. Does that concern you that we’re having – that they are winning hearts and minds? Is it a counterpoint to the American model?

SECRETARY KERRY: Oh, I don’t think they’re winning hearts and minds. I think they are leveraging in one case force, in the other a lot of money in order to be able to create relationships. It’s highly transactional. I think we, on the other hand, are still out there basing choices on values, and I think where people have an option to choose the values, they’ll choose them without any question. But in many places, they don’t have the option. The political space in China has been narrow. The political space in Russia is nearly nonexistent, and Russia is doing what it’s doing in Ukraine with little green men running around in uniforms without insignia on them pretending it’s – that they don’t belong to Russia. They’re not there.

So I don’t think the world buys into that. I am absolutely convinced, as I travel the world, people appreciate what the United States does in terms of our leadership. And I’ll tell you that if we don’t, in many cases – and I say this without arrogance; this is not a statement of America beating our chest – it just tends to be true that if we are not engaged in helping to push and force and cajole and leverage and use our power effectively, very often things don’t happen – not always, but very often they don’t happen.

And we’ve been deeply involved, for instance, in helping President Santos in Colombia to be able to leverage the end of 50 years of civil war. I just held a demining event today with my colleague from Norway, the foreign minister, where we are coalescing countries, and we had a donor conference today to try to get rid of mines because 11,000 Colombians have been killed with kids stepping on mines that were laid years ago and people don’t know where they are or what’s happening. In Cambodia, you had this. Afghanistan, you have this. So we’re leading in those kinds of things.

At PEPFAR in Africa, we are literally – we are on the brink of having the first generation of children born AIDS-free in Africa because of what we have done with PEPFAR, with the effort to build a healthcare structure. (Applause.)

So – last year, you all remember at Christmastime last year there were predictions of – I think the year before now – it’s passing so fast – but their predictions were a million people were going to die in western Africa because of Ebola. Well, President Obama had the courage to send 3,000 American troops there. We built healthcare delivery capacity working with the French and working with the British, who deserve enormous credit both equally. They – we turned that around and we didn’t lose anywhere near that, and we ended it as a potential scourge that could have gone global. So that’s where the leadership is so critical, and that’s where we are engaged again and again and place after place.

QUESTION: You’ve described, I think, crises in every continent of the world. I think you didn’t get to Australia, and I’m not sure if that counts, but --

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, the crisis there is they led us to the (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: That they’re worried about. How do we keep focused on – and if you took a polling of the next generation from around the world, the kinds of intra-issues that people – the big, impractical issues that people are concerned about – corruption, social inequality, climate change, education of course, gender equality – how do diplomats like yourself keep focused on those issues, when every day there seems to be – and I’ve never known a time like this – there seems to be some new, immediate crisis that we have to --

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we multi – I mean, we’re good at multitasking, actually. We are. We have not hesitated on any one of those issues that Katty just mentioned. In every bilateral meeting that I have, I will raise – people join – just this morning, I just met with – we just had a trilateral with the Japanese and with the Koreans, and I raised the issue of HFCs and the Montreal Protocol, of the international airlines agreement on airline contribution to emissions reduction, and on their joining the Paris Agreement so that that becomes effective this year.

So we’re constantly pushing out all these agenda. We are the major global leader on anti-human trafficking. We issue an annual report. Our people in the State Department are working on it year-long in order to tally up what other countries are doing and try to create accountability.

So we do a lot of things all at the same time. That’s the work of the State Department. And we do it all, I might add to you, on one penny on the dollar of American taxpayer money, which is frankly absurd in today’s world where we are all interconnected, and where the success of any of these countries in Africa or anything in the Middle East or South Central Asia or Asia has an impact on us, and whether or not those kids go to radical religious extremism and strap a suicide vest around them or whether or not they will join the community of nations as an educated person to some degree depends on our meeting the 2030 goals that we’re here to talk about tonight. That’s (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: So, full disclosure: My father was a diplomat. I had – it’s in my DNA. But there is a feeling in the United States amongst some people at the moment that the era of diplomacy is over, that we shouldn’t even be talking to some of America’s adversaries like Russia and Iran, some people even suggest China.

How do you counter that when you have a mood at home which – and you can understand to some extent a reluctance amongst the American public after a long engagement in the Middle East that has not gone as well as one might have hoped for – a mood at home that is less diplomacy, more focus inwardly?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, because a lot of people define our engagements abroad in the context of dropping bombs on people and being engaged in a war. And if people were to have a better sense that we could do diplomacy which is helping to educate people and build healthcare capacity and create stability and show people how technology can lend itself to a transparency in governance and accountability in governance, then we can begin to more effectively change some of these places.

But I’ll tell you, we have learned if – you can’t shut off the world. You can’t – 95 percent of the world’s customers live in other countries. People are fighting this concept of trade, but it’s – the trade is not the problem. It’s how we treat workers who are dislocated by transition or what we do with people to be able to not just see the 1 percent – the upper 1 percent of American income-earners doing well while everybody else is either struggling to hold where they are or falling behind. That’s a problem of our tax code. It’s a problem of our political finance system. It’s a problem of a whole bunch of other things, but not the fault of trade itself. It’s because we don’t have a strong enough safety net to help people go to school, get ongoing education, find a job at age 45 or 50 or whatever it is, be able to move into another sector. And there’s so many other things that people could be doing than we ask them to do.

So I think that there are huge opportunities out there right now. A lot of the world is still living on a dollar a day, two dollars a day. There are millions of people to bring in from poverty, which means there are schools to be built, hospitals to be built, doctors to be trained, infrastructure to be built. There’s a world to develop out there, and that’s, again, what 2030 is trying to talk about.

So if our vision will just be a little less narrow or myopic and people who run around saying, “No, we just got to take care of ourselves -- ” there is no way just to take care of yourself in today’s world. You will not grow your economy. You will not build people (inaudible). No way. (Applause.)

QUESTION: One of the issues that comes up in polling time and time again, the interest – and I just want to focus on one issue because we could have addressed a million – climate change, whichever – is social inequality.

SECRETARY KERRY: Yeah.

QUESTION: As an American – as the senior American diplomat, how much can you do? What’s achievable for the U.S. on this issue?

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, we are doing an enormous amount. I mean, we are – we have the Millennium Challenge Corporation. We do put some 22 billion-plus or so into direct aid programs that help to develop people, build up capacity, do gender-enhancing, participation in countries, things like that. There are a lot of things that we’re able to leverage. The problem is it is at a scale that is just not going to get the job done. If you have 1.5 billion kids that need to go to school tomorrow, it isn’t going to do you a lot of good to have a 20-year horizon for those 1.5 billion because they’re going to be 30 and whatever, and who knows what choice they’re going to make in life if we don’t do a better job of moving faster.

So I think what we need, frankly, is a larger commitment by the United States to help lead other countries. At the end of World War II, we did the Marshall Plan. And people were not for it, by the way. Harry Truman had to work like hell to get that through and it was – many people sort of resented the notion because we turned around and helped Germany rebuild. We helped Japan rebuild. But guess what? Today, Germany and Japan, two of the strongest allies we have, two of the most leading economies in the world, two democracies working. It was an investment well worth the lending that we did. We didn’t even give them money. It was a lending program – concessional lending for low-interest loans.

We should be gathering the many more developed countries of the world now in an effort to grow what we knew would grow back, what we could do ourselves. The Global Fund, all of these kinds of things you need a greater effort, because you got a lot of countries who would like to reduce their emissions, like to be responsible nations to live up to the Paris Agreement, and they simply don’t have the money to do anything to provide their electricity except take the cheapest source of power, which they’re told is coal. The problem is it’s not when you tally up the damage from all the storms, the droughts, the fires, the infestation of new diseases that live because it’s warmer – they used to die – I mean, all these other costs are the true cost of climate change. And most cost accounting when people make power choices have no connection to the true cost. So that’s part of what we have to change, is how people approach and think about it.

Again, I have to say to everybody the United States showed leadership. I went to China within two monthsof being appointed Secretary. We sat with the Chinese and got them to agree for the first time ever to a working group on climate change geared to try to make sure our presidents could stand up in two years, in one year, and make an announcement that could rock the world with China and the United States joined together.

Why was that important? Because only a few years earlier in Copenhagen at the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, it crashed. And it crashed because China was on the other side. China was part of the G77 that was fighting against anything happening. Nothing happened. So we changed that. President Xi and President Obama stood up and announced to the world China and the United States cooperating on climate, both setting their targets for reductions which then led other nations to say, whoa, this is serious business; Paris could actually happen.

And we went to Paris and got an historic agreement with almost 200 nations signing on, each to their own reduction plan, but with a fixed way of reviewing it and trying to hold people accountable. And in the end, it will not be governments who save us with respect to the issue of climate change and keeping the Earth’s temperature under 2 degrees Centigrade. It will be the private sector that responds to the message that was sent in Paris that there’s going to be a new paradigm, and now there is a race of investment, money, venture capital, angel investors, others beginning to look for the – who’s going to solve the battery storage problem, who’s going to provide the next generation of solar panels that are more efficient and that are less costly. And that’s what’s going to revolutionize the planet and save us on climate change.

But we need leadership that understands it and it’s astounding to me that we’ve had people running for president of recent vintage who – (laughter) – don’t even acknowledge that climate change is taking place. So we need (inaudible). (Applause.)

QUESTION: I’m going to let you go, but I’m not going to let you go before embarrassing you by quoting aNew York Times editorial which does about – there was an editorial from The New York Times very recently about the Secretary which did say that you sometimes pursue unwinnable goals, but it gives you a lot of credit for Iran and Paris, and it says, “There is something heroic about the persistence, hard work, and faith in diplomacy that you show.” Secretary Kerry, thank you from all of us.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. (Applause.)

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. Thanks very much. Take care. Thank you.