John Kerry used his first major speech as secretary of State to make that case that failing to confront climate change means missing big economic opportunities — and worse.
“If we waste this opportunity, it may be the only thing our generation — generations — are remembered for. We need to find the courage to leave a far different legacy,” Kerry said in a wide-ranging address Wednesday at the University of Virginia.
Kerry again signaled that he hopes to use his role as top diplomat to promote green energy technologies, arguing they can provide a major boost to U.S. industries in the “next great revolution in our marketplace.”
He also cited the prospect of new markets for “America’s second-to-none innovators and entrepreneurs.”
“We need to commit ourselves to doing the smart thing and the right thing and to truly take on this challenge, because if we don’t rise to meet it, then rising temperatures and rising sea levels will surely lead to rising costs down the road. Ask any insurance company,” he said.
The Hill’s Julian Pecquet has much more on the speech here.
The State Department represents the U.S. at ongoing international talks to craft a new global climate accord, and has an array of bilateral climate and green energy partnerships, among other global warming-related work.
Kerry is also under pressure from green groups to reject to proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline that State is reviewing.