October 21, 2021

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John Kerry Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate Opening Remarks

11 min read

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

White House – Washington, DC

As prepared

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. President, thank you very much for your leadership and the sense of urgency which you are calling everybody to account for. And we thank you for hosting this conference in less than a hundred days from entering the Oval Office.

We just heard a very powerful statement from a young activist underscoring the urgency that every leader here faces to meet this crisis. And as you have said, Mr. President, creating a net zero economy and doing it as rapidly as possible is an enormous challenge. It will require mobilizing finance at an absolutely unprecedented level. And it will require governments to help facilitate the net zero transition around the world and to help especially – and we’ve heard it again and again from the leaders this morning – the vulnerable countries, the people who just don’t have the finance or the technology or the ability to do this.

Given the magnitude of this challenge, however, governments alone cannot possibly find all the necessary investment. There’s no government in the world that has enough in their fiscal – in their budgets to be able to provide what we need to make this transition. Ultimately, how governments, international financial institutions, and private providers of capital work together is really going to determine the outcome of this challenge.

So joining us in this – first in this session are four leaders from four different corners of the world, and they will share their experiences in financing climate solutions and in deploying mitigation and adaptation strategies. So to begin, it’s my pleasure to turn to President Charles Michel of the European Council.

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