U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday called on private businesses to move rapidly away from fossil fuels—both to prevent devastating climate change and to drive global economic growth.
“If we’re going to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we have to accelerate this transition,” Kerry said in a speech. “When we talk about the future of energy, we are actually talking about the future of everything.”
The address, delivered at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit in New York, comes as the Obama administration continues to push for expanded commitments to address climate change. Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping on March 31vowed to sign the Paris Agreement to address global warming later this month and encouraged leaders of other countries to do the same. And on Monday the White House issued a new reportshowing that climate change could damage public health in the U.S.
The administration’s message—present in Kerry’s speech and in many White House policies pushed in recent years—has emphasized that government regulation cannot solve climate change on its own. White House officials like Kerry have focused on engaging business leaders as well as politicians, and policy announcements have often been paired with commitments from large businesses like Goldman Sachs, Google and Walmart.