On Monday, ASP founder and Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the 2014 NYC Climate Week conference to discuss the future of climate change and its implications for the United States and the international community. Stressing the national security implications of climate change, Kerry said:
As everybody here knows, too often climate change is put into an “environmental challenge” box, when in fact it’s a major set of economic opportunities and economic challenges, it’s a public health challenge, and it’s also unquestionably – and this is something that the American Security Project is deeply focused on – an international security challenge.
…when you think about terrorism, which we think about a lot today; poverty, which is linked obviously to the levels of terror that we see in the world today; and, of course, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – all of these are challenges that don’t know any borders. And that’s exactly what climate change is. Importantly, climate change, without being connected in that way to everybody’s daily thinking, in fact, ranks right up there with every single one of the rest of those challenges. You can make a powerful argument that it may be, in fact, the most serious challenge we face on the planet because it’s about the planet itself.
Secretary Kerry laid out the steps that the United States will pursue in order to bring together governments from around the world to combat climate change. Among the plans, Kerry highlighted the importance of forming partnerships with some of the world’s largest energy consumers such as China and India so that a truly global solution can be reached.
That’s why yesterday I convened a group of foreign ministers for the first time. We agreed that we would meet again next year to hold all the nations that were there accountable and to measure ourselves about what the targets are we set as we go into Paris next year.
Secretary Kerry’s remarks also stressed that rather than climate change being seen solely as a problem, it should also be viewed as an opportunity for the US to revolutionize its energy economy:
Think of the competitiveness…that would be created if we began to embrace the possibilities of that economy. Because the economy we’re looking at, the energy economy of the future, is a $6 trillion market with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it’s going to go up to 6 to 9 billion users over the course of the next 50 years.