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tv   White House Briefing with John Kerry Gina Mc Carthy  CSPAN  April 23, 2021 1:16am-1:56am EDT

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c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> live coverage friday includes a bipartisan group of governors and lawmakers meeting for an infrastructure summit organized by maryland governor larry hogan. that gets underway at 12:59 on c-span. 9:00 am on c-span2, madeleine albright joins other diplomats for a discussion about the future of afghanistan as the u.s. moves to withdraw all troops from the region by mid-september. 12:30 p.m., pete buttigieg speaks with axios about the benefits of electric and autonomous vehicles. john kerry and gina mccarthy were at the white house to speak about climate initiatives for the biden administration. they talked about the new goal set by the president to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and how the administration was working with other countries to address climate change.
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>> thanks everybody, it is great to be here. happy earth day. president biden fulfilled his promise to rejoin the paris agreement that is part of the reentering the agreement, the president launched a whole of government approach that was organized through his climate task force to establish the 2030 emissions target, the nationally determined contribution. it is a formal submission to the united nations under the united nations convention on climate change. the ndc is a commitment and our ndc basically says that the united states will reduce our net economy wide greenhouse gas emissions by 52% below 2005 levels by 2030. the target builds on u.s. leadership at all levels of government and programs to date
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and positions american workers and industry to help us tackle the climate crisis. today's announcement is a product of this governmentwide assessment on how to make the most of this opportunity on combating climate change and what it presents for us and our future. to get here, we went sector by sector, electricity, transportation, building, industry, and we looked at the wealth of already existing cost effective clean technology and products that are ready for deployment and innovation trends that we see in the marketplace that will allow us to win the clean energy future and the opportunities we now have to create good paying union jobs, improve public health, keep our community safe, and advanced environmental justice. over the past nearly 100 years of this administration -- i'm sorry, 100 days.
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feels like years at times. 100 days of this administration, we met with and listened to cities and states, businesses, workers, scientists, parents, young people, grandparents like me who were actually around during the first earth day and hope to be around for quite a few more. the output of the analysis and robust engagement is that we see multiple pathways across all sectors across all policy levers, across federal and state and local actions to grow our economy and to reduce our emissions. president biden has always believed that tackling the climate crisis presents a valuable economic opportunity and the fact is, creating jobs and tackling climate change go hand and hand. we invest in the competitiveness of our industry and empower u.s. workers to build more resilience
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and sustainable infrastructure and propel us. that is how we meet and move forward and manufacturing and exports of clean energy technology. every day since january 20, it has been earth day and job day. every day has been infrastructure week. we have marshaled the whole of government, the fantastic government and the team of climate and clean energy experts across the federal government behind this president's vision, not just to develop the target, but to unlock the opportunity that achieving this target represents, because when president biden thinks jobs. -- when president biden hears climate, he thinks jobs. and it is no wonder. it is no wonder that the work we need to do is not just about avoiding an existential threat, which climate change is, it is how we create jobs for line workers, building thousands of miles of transmission lines for
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a clean, modern resilient great. -- resilient grid. capping abandoned wells, reclaiming minds, stopping methane leaks. building modern efficient electric vehicles and charging infrastructure to support them. you can follow me right after the briefing if you want to hang out at union station to get a close look at ev infrastructure. and engineers and construction workers expanding common -- carbon capture and green hydrogen. it is about farmers using cutting edge tools to make american soil the next frontier of carbon innovation. so let's be clear. the american jobs plane will help us more fully tap the economic upside, investing in infrastructure, workers, and communities.
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it is something we cannot afford to pass on. let me close by reiterating what brings me here to work every day, especially this stage of my career, it is joe biden's unwavering focus on people, on the air they breathe and on their health. on the dignity that comes with good work and jobs we can create. on how we keep working together to move beyond a year, we all would love to put behind us 21 -- find us -- behind us to -- to one of renewed hope and opportunity because after all, this date is all about investing in america and a future for our children. that is why we are here dear -- thank you and let me pass it on to secretary john kerry.
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sec. kerry: i'm really happy to share this day and the subject matter with all of you. i want to begin by sharing with you what a spectacular job gina and her team have done. you may remember the executive order which said the president will aim to announce the ndc at the summit. the aim was not that he had a question of wanting to do that. the aim was whether anyone could pull together all of the parties that had to be part of preparing the ndc. a gigantic administrative task, which gina and her team have done superbly. i mean that. it is hard to get all of the disparate elements of your
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government together by issuing an executive order to make the climate issue and all of government enterprise and instructing every single officer and agency officer to comprehensively factor climate consequences in every decision that they were making. they have done that and gina created this task force. we have never had an all of government task force. we have it now because it is gina's creation and it worked. that is what brought everyone together to get this ambitious but appropriate achievable goal in place so i salute her and i thank her for that. it is a great service. everywhere that i went in the world in the course of the last months, the first question out of everyone's mouths was what are you going to do?
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you have destroyed your credibility, left the paris agreement, how can we trust you? what is going to happen in the next four years? to which there is a powerful answer. no politician i think could change what is now happening globally in the marketplace. that is part of the message of what has happened here today. and in the last few days. yesterday we announced the net zero bank alliance, we announced the glasgow financial lines for -- alliance for net zero and we have some 43 financial institutions across the world, i forget the exact sum, and just yesterday, a number of banks announced, six banks to be precise, that they are allocating or making a commitment that they will invest
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into climate-related efforts, initiatives investments, four -- $4.16 trillion. i am happy to be here, first parenthetically, five years ago today, i had my granddaughter on my knee in new york and signed the paris agreement. that was a great moment for everybody in the world when everybody came together in new york excitedly to set out on this venture. regrettably without any facts, without any science without any , rationale that would be considered reasonable, former president decided to pull out and was the only president in the entire world, the only chief of state in the entire world who without any scientific evidence, decided to pull out of
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the paris agreement so when president biden was elected, having made climate one of the most critical issues of his agenda, we had a big step to get up. we had to restore america's credibility to prove that we are serious. i think today does that in many ways. not in a chauvinistic way that is inappropriate to our relationship with other countries but in a way that reinforces the fact that is -- that this is multilateral, that we need to bring all countries of the world to the table and we all need to raise ambition. that is the central theme of this meeting today. we must all raise ambition and you heard that profoundly, meaningful, moving, understandably frustrating and
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angry words, words that came from -- and that is where a lot of the younger generation is today. appropriately upset at the alleged adults who are not getting their act together to make happen what needs to happen. we are not there yet but we built a huge foundational building block any effort to get there so the importance of today in my judgment is this, the world came together. president xi, prime minister modi, president putin, presidents of small countries and big countries, the european union itself, independently , people in the financial marketplace and others, all of them in agreement that this is a crisis.
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it is the climate crisis and it is going to require an enormous lift to get where we need to go so what happened today, just to underscore where we are, on january 19 we were nowhere. we were in a deficit and because of president biden's leadership in calling the summit and put -- putting us on the line to do this, we now have 55% of a global gdp committed to levels of reductions that keep faith, withholding the earth's temperature at 1.5 degrees. that is a big chunk of difference and we have done that working with countries, sitting down with them, with japan, with korea, with australia, with indonesia, with india, and one meeting that even oil-producing
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countries stepped up and made things clear. of course china included as well as some latin american countries and african countries so i'm pleased at where we are but i'm not sanguine. the next six months of diplomacy are going to be absolutely critical to the capacity to make glasgow what it needs to be. glasco is the last best hope to coalesce the world in the right direction and get the 20 biggest emitters who are responsible for 81% of the emissions -- all 20 of them were here today and almost all 20 of them are pledging to do additional things , so that is our job.
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i clarify very quickly, japan said they would cut emissions 46% to 50% by 2030. strong efforts towards achieving the reduction up from its 26% reduction. canada, strengthening from a current 30% to 45%. the republic of overseas coal finance and preparing to update its ndc consistent with the and -- net zero goal. india, in partnership with united states to deploy for 50 -- 450 gigawatts of renewable power. if we can do that, which is the finance component is so critical, india is on track to hold the 1.5 degrees centigrade. argentina, u.k., yesterday e.u.
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announced a new law to net zero. it is progress. we still have a heavy lift. no one should doubt the challenges of the road ahead. so i am happy to be here. >> we are at the tail end. >> when it comes to the pledge, how can you realistically make a pledge to the rest of the world when there's no guarantee that republicans will get on board with your plan? sec. kerry: a lot of the plan is executable through this executive order. i'm going to let gina speak for this. a lot of the plan is executable through order but that is the power of having private sector here. that is the real reason why am saying to you that no politician is going to do this because all
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over the world, trillions of dollars, trillions of euros are heading into this new marketplace and the future belongs to the countries as you heard today from many number of leaders that are the ones who developed green hydrogen fuel or storage or battery storage or direct carbon capture for the atmosphere. some technology is going to break through here. one of the things the president is thinking about is how to accelerate the innovation and the research and development that is going to push the curve. do you want to talk about that a little bit? >> sure. just to indicate to you that this is a result of understanding what our authorities at the federal government, also what is happening at the local and state level, what is happening in the business community?
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what technologies that are ready to be deployed now? it is also values down, looking at how we grow as a country and be sustainable. the plan the president has put in place and the plane we are relying on here is a plan that we can deliver because we have the wherewithal to do it, but we also have carefully looked at what we can deliver in terms of change. it is moving forward. the exciting thing is this plan has received endorsements from the afl-cio, the chamber of commerce, the edison electrical institute and the ibew. does it get better than that? all of them recognize we have to invest in america again. that is what the plane is already -- is all about.
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that is what we anticipate our country will do because we know how to make this happen, we can put people back to work and it is time for us to talk about hope and opportunity and get past the year that we are finishing. sec. kerry: a lot of people would say, if the president had not put the plan forward, he has put forth and it is a legitimate thing to say how can i get past? this future is not something conjured up out of anyone's imagination. it is the most real thing in the world. the bureau of labor statistics says there are three jobs that will actually grow more than 50% this year. the first is 62% growth in wind turbine technician. the second is nurse practitioners for obvious unfortunate reasons.
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the third is solar panel installer at 51% so the talents -- the jobs are growing there. i'm not offering the job to someone who does not want to lose their job but they're going -- the job market here is going to be gigantic. for electricians, plumbers, heavy equipment operators, all these people, building up america's grid, transitioning us to this new future is going to happen. we need to make sure we are not left behind. >> the only other thing i would mention is that wind and solar had the biggest year they have ever had last year and what we saw last year was continuation of tax credits that passed through a republican-controlled congress so we all know where this is heading. the real question is, do we want the courage to grab it here, to
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prosper from the jobs here and to stabilize our economy? the only thing i will tell you is electric vehicles are another interesting piece that is going to be a big part of our future. i'm going to go check out a charging station and look at some of those vehicles but the thing i would encourage you to think about is that we have had many of the large car companies stand up and say 100% ev's by 2035. we did not say that. i did not even say electric vehicles. it was the very first thing they said to me is that that is the future and that this is what this is all about. what is our future? who are we grabbing it for? happy earth day. [indiscernible]
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>> secretary, thanks so much. how do we realistically get there without turning the economy on its ears? as best you can come up with this in real terms for folks. the u.s. has to reach 40% renewable power by 2030? do we have 25% of the cars on the road be electric? what does this mean? sec. kerry: what it means is that we are going to be investing. this is not a throwaway. this is an investment. in new ways of getting energy to people as more efficiently delivered, that is lower-cost in the long run, and that it is going to open up a whole group of employment opportunities that are beginning to be seen in america today. it is not because the government is directing things to happen. the marketplace is doing this. you cannot build a coal-fired
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power plant in the united states with a bank funding you. no individual is going to throw money down there. you just heard korea say we are not going to fund any external coal. so there is a transition that the market has undertaken, well before anyone proposed a program. this is a transition that is taking place. we have historically always gone through these periods when in america we innovate. we do the r&d and we come up with a new product of some kind or another. i lived and represented for years communities like lowell and lawrence, plenty of places that have these huge mills. teeming with people working in the early 1900s. then that changed. it went south in our country and
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then i went abroad because that is the transition in economies and it happened in the industrial revolution. it happened in the revolution of technology in the 1990's and it is going to happen now. we always replace it with a different kind of or some new opportunity. i don't think it is going to mean that much dislocation, frankly. it is going to mean greater opportunity. >> given what you witnessed within the last president, if president biden is not to win again, what can you do now to make sure the next president with a stroke of the pen cannot reverse progress you are trying to make right now? >> i will answer directly but i want to begin by pointing out to you that there is a company called tesla which is the highest valued automobile company in the world. why? all it makes is one product, electric vehicles. that is what is happening.
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that is the market saying here we are. this is going to happen. gm has now already announced on its own that they are only going to produce electrical vehicles as of 2035 and ford motor company, ask the president of ford. i have heard him at an event standing up and saying, the electric car is a better car. they love it. they are fabulous. they are really great. my feeling is it is going to take place because the market is sending signals and the consumer is sending signals. that said, how do you prevent someone from coming along and preventing the stroke of a pen change? here is what is going to happen. because the world is moving this direction, because these companies have made this critical, long-term strategic marketing judgment, and that is
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the way the market is moving, no politician, no matter how demagogic or potent and capable they are is going to be able to change what that market is doing , because it will have moved. it will have four years of entrenchment. those jobs will be there and people will see this is the product people want to buy. it will also increasingly i believe more and more convinced by the heat in the summer, the floods, the weather, the intensity of storms, the rising of sea level, we have to get moving. i don't think anyone is going to get back behind that fast. we are way behind the eight ball. >> thank you. president putin and bolsonaro through a little bit of shade at the united states at their
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comments about historical omissions. what is your take on their plan and your response to their criticisms and whether or not you have any intention to travel to those countries? sec. kerry: at some point, travel will be warranted. we have been in conversations with both with their teams on this subject. we are not a place where we feel like we are prepared to make the journey because there is a sense that there might be something concrete that we can find, i listen to president putin today and i thought he was pretty rational and put some decent visionary thoughts on about things we might want to be looking at an cooperating over. just as with china, where we try to create this chain of communication, where we have a long way to go, it is a
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beginning and that is the nature of diplomacy. but i think we are in a place, where we will have the ability to be able to create enough progress with other countries, that those countries are going to come along too. some of the comments president bolsonaro made surprised me. that's pretty good, that works if you do those things. the question is will they do them? one of the things you want to take note of was the trace program which al gore and other entities have been involved in which is now the satellite capacity to measure in real-time what footprint is of corporations or countries all around the world and so there is no hiding anymore.
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there's going to be real-time tracking and that is one of the things that will come out of glascow -- glasgow which is what is the accountability structure going to be here for, -- countries going to be able to move so russia has reduced some emissions. their economy is very different from ours. it is mostly gas-based. that presents challenges for them going forward so i think there is room to hopefully have a discussion about this and we will see if we can find common ground. i think that is the most important summary. >> 52% of the president said -- is foreign >> it is not easy. is it doable?
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will we probably exceed it? yes. i think a lot of us will exceed the predictions we are making because we are measuring the predictions by the economy we have today and the technologies we have today by five years from now we may have a major breakthrough on batteries, shortage, great hydrogen, there are so many things that people are chasing and working on that is part of the value of some of the investment and venture capital business. people are looking to be the entity that hits paydirt with the patent on the best sources -- best storage system that there is and whoever does that will make more money than jeff bezos pretty quickly. that's going to be a big deal. green hydrogen.
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there are a whole bunch of countries working on hydrogen and if you can bring it up to scale at a cost that is not prohibitive, so your competitive with other things, it starts to take off. i think these things are going to happen. i'm genuinely optimistic because so much is beginning to happen because i believe in our ingenuity, i know president biden does, he believes we can do anything. think about it. we are the country that went to the mood and we did not know how we were going to get there. where the country that invented the internet. some people might regret that today but we did that. we also vaccines that are working and we have shown we have the ability to put that out and put them and people's arms so i believe that we have the ability. when you talk to the president of m.i.t. and what they are trying to do at m.i.t. or at stanford or at caltech or other
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tech colleges, if we were to join forces with other efforts around the world, we think there are great opportunities and i believe we are going to breakthrough. there's plenty of hydrogen and this i think is really the future. this is why many people are chasing it. >> i will also give you the contact information for his team. go ahead. >> piggybacking off of the last question, there have been some groups that have been really positive about the ndc and other steps the administration has taken today. but there also some who are saying it is insufficient. you reference a young woman who spoke this morning and that is passionate about the crisis that
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previous generations have put on her generation. what do you say to people who say 50% to 52% is not enough, or that several billion dollars that you're committing for climate finance for developing countries is also insufficient when you consider just how big the u.s. budget is and you are talking about $10 billion? sec. kerry: let me just say that i loved her passion. i loved what she said and i did not agree with every step of it. you cannot do some of this stuff overnight just physically. there are impediments to getting some of that done, but i understand where she is coming from. i told you this was five years to the day that i signed the agreement. it is also 50 years to the day i
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testified before the united states senate, and i was camped on the mall with a bunch of veterans opposing the war in vietnam. that was a period of time when young people stood up and made our voices heard. we were part of the civil rights movement. we were part of the women's movement, the peace movement, the environment movement. the environment movement back then produce -- i was part of the first earth day. we organized in massachusetts and we organized for the election and targeted 12 congresspeople that were labeled the dirty dozen, the worst of the congress. we beat seven of them. that is when we passed the clean air act, the marine memo protection, the coastal zone management, endangered species. and we created the environmental protection agency. richard nixon signed into law.
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1972i think. i believe in what the young folks are doing. those public officials exercise the cautionary principle of governance that when you get information says x, y, and z are going to happen and there's not a 10% chance of what is going to happen. you might get sick, it is on -- 100% certain most of these things are going to happen. the ice is melting, the sea is rising. and yet we are not buying insurance. you are darn right they are angry and i share that anger, but how do you get from here to there to get it done? i believe what president biden
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is doing is leading to get us from here to there. what is happening here today is a huge step forward to get us from here to there by setting these targets, getting nations invested, getting leaders to say publicly we have to do this. you begin to get a foothold on holding them accountable and moving forward, getting it done. is it enough? no. but it is the best we can do today and prove we can begin to move and get the technologies and find the easier path and get the job done. i think we will get the job done as president biden said today because of our capacity for innovation and research and development, producing great products of the future, meeting challenges. we have always done that. americans are really anxious to do something like that. that's why i'm here doing this. not in the private sector or retired.
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i believe this moment is the moment where we need to get on track. as i said earlier, over 50% of global gdp agreed here today that they are going from 1.5 degrees and what they are doing will get them on track to do it. we are on track to do it. that is pretty good even though we know we need to move faster. we are not where we need to be. that is a good note to end on. >> the launch of the spacex crew dragon endeavor to the international space station happens friday morning. wife starting at 5:00 a.m. eastern with takeoff schedule that 5:49 eastern. we will bring you the post launch news conference set for 7:30 a.m. eastern.
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live coverage friday on c-span 2. listen on the free c-span radio app. >> live coverage friday includes a bipartisan group of governors and lawmakers meeting for an infrastructure summit organized by maryland governor larry hogan. that gets underway at 12:15 p.m. eastern on c-span. 9:00 a.m. on c-span2, madeleine albright joined other diplomats for a discussion about the future of afghanistan as the u.s. moves to withdraw all troops by mid-september. 12:30 p.m., pete buttigieg speaks with axios about the benefits of electrician autonomous -- electric and autonomous vehicles. ♪
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>> climate activist greta thunberg testified at a house oversight subcommittee hearing on the fossil fuel industry and its impact on the environment. she urged lawmakers to put an end to fossil fuel subsidies and called for a rapid transition to sustainable energy sources. other witnesses included a senior official from the american petroleum institute, climate policy experts, and an ohio resident who described the events -- the effects of fracking in her state. this is two hours.

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