Remarks at World Economic Forum, Davos 2021

01/28/2021 01:33 PM EST

John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

World Economic Forum, Davos 2021

Mobilizing Action on Climate Change

Host BørgeBrende, President World Economic Forum Geneva: I am so delighted to welcome former secretary of state and special presidential envoy for climate, my dear friend John Kerry. John has been a leader on climate change for decades. One of the crowning achievements that I saw myself was of course was his role as one of the key architects of the Paris Climate Accord. President Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the accord on his first day in office. A testament to this administration’s commitment to prioritize climate action. Secretary Kerry knows that tackling the climate crisis will require allegiances across political divides and will need to include both the public and private sector. Which is why, as we all remember in 2019, he co-founded World War Zero together with Republican Governor John Kasich to work in a bipartisan and multi-stakeholder way to tackle climate change. Secretary Kerry, John, he will serve in the President’s cabinet and on the National Security Council, showing really that the administration considers climate change as a national security concern and the need of global cooperation to turn the tide. So happy to see you. John, the floor is yours. Go ahead.

Secretary Kerry: Well Børge thank you, very, very much. First of all, thank you for the invitation. Thank you for a very generous introduction. May I say you have become a great friend and as Norway’s foreign minister, you are always an extraordinary partner to all of us. You’re a great collaborator and in your own right, a great renowned leader on climate change and ocean conservation which I personally benefited from enormously the impact of your advocacy when you came to Washington for your first ocean’s conference so thank you for that. You were literally a great tag team partner then and you brought the same determination and vision to your work at the helm of the World Economic Forum and we thank you. Congratulations on making the conference a success even during a global pandemic. The scenery has kind of changed, but I think everyone would agree that the focus is the same and you are busy breaking down the silos and bringing sectors and stakeholders together to find the synergies on critical issues.

Obviously, I think nothing fits the bill for doing that more than global climate change. It’s been at the top of your global risks report for a number of years now. Three years ago, scientists starkly warned us that we had twelve years in which to make decisions to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Now, already, we are down to nine years left.  And we are into the decisive decade for action and the evidence of urgency is literally all around us.

I know it’s easy to get a little bit barraged by it all and almost numb to the warnings. But over Christmas, I read an article by Michael Benson that ought to stop every single one of us in our tracks. He examined photographs from geostationary satellites and piecing- you could see huge plumes of smoke when you saw these pictures from Australia’s fires with I quote him “flame vortexes spiraling two hundred feet into the year passing New Zealand and stretching thousands of miles into the cobalt Pacific.” And there in plain sight was the result of a disaster so vast that it had already consumed fifteen million acres, a figure that then would rise to 46 million, and in the end Australia’s fires killed dozens of people, destroyed 5,900 buildings, and quite likely according to the best science, rendered some of the country’s endangered species extinct. Benson summed it up, “With shocking iconographic precision, that unfurling banner of smoke said, ‘The war has started, we’re losing.’”

So, in the United States, three storms two years ago – Irma, Harvey, and Maria – cost us 265 billion dollars just to clean up after them. Last year, one storm, $55 billion dollars. Yet in stark contrast, we don’t fully fund our Paris commitment of $100 billion a year mobilized for poor nation adaptation and mitigation. So, we are here now in this moment, not just because we understand the urgency, or because we understand the moral imperative, we are here because we know we can’t afford to lose any longer. And action is the one moral, economic, and scientific imperative worth contemplating.

Let me just say to you, President Biden is totally committed to this fight. He understands what we are up against. And that’s why he ran on the most ambitious and comprehensive climate platform of any presidential candidate in U.S. history. It’s why he made “Building Back Better – and investing in clean energy and clean transportation to create millions of jobs – he made it a pillar of his campaign and now a centerpiece of his presidency.

It’s the reason today, one week into the job, the president, President Biden, will sign another series of executive orders that continue to advance his climate agenda. First, making climate central to foreign policy planning and national security preparedness by creating platforms to coordinate climate action across all federal agencies and departments, by directing his administration to develop a U.S. climate finance plan, as well as a plan for ending international financing of fossil fuel projects with public money, and moving to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and by hosting a leaders summit less than three months from now on Earth Day, April 22nd. It is also obviously why we rejoined the Paris Agreement just hours after being sworn in as President.

It’s fair to say that he knows we don’t have a single moment to waste. I think all the member of this panel understand that. He also knows that Paris alone is not enough. Not when almost 90% of global emissions comes from outside of U.S. borders as it does for most countries in the world. So domestic action cannot possibly be enough if we don’t together forge an international strategy to galvanize the world to drive greater ambition from every country, every sector and ensure that the clean energy future we need is global in scope and scale. The whole world has to come to this table to solve the problem.

So, we rejoin the international climate effort with humility – and I mean that – and ambition. Humility because we know we wasted four years in which we were inexcusably absent. Humility knowing that today almost no country, and for certain, no continent is getting the job done. But we reenter with ambition knowing that the COP in Glasgow in November all nations have to raise our sights together or we all fail together. Our goal in Glasgow is to see all major emitting countries together raise ambition – to not be content with goals thirty years from now but to lay out roadmaps with benchmarks starting this year to acknowledge gaps where they exist, but to show how we get there. Because we need technology breakthroughs and critically, we need to put forward real finance plans to bring the whole world along. Failure is obviously not an option.

That is why ambition is so important because success will actually bring enormous reward in countless measures. We have to get away from this argument that deniers and procrastinators have made that this is a choice between a quality of life or taking care of this challenge. Success means tapping into the best of global ingenuity, creativity, and diplomacy. From brain power to alternative energy power, using every tool we have to get where we need to go. A zero emissions future offers remarkable opportunity for business, for clean, green jobs, for economic growth. To use the President’s words, to ‘build back better’ from the global economic crisis.

Just a few quick examples to demonstrate what this opportunity really is. The highest-valued auto company in the world today is Tesla, and it only makes electric vehicles. Mitsubishi is building the world’s largest zero emissions steel plant in Austria. Heidelberg Cement is working on a plant in Norway that anticipates capturing all of its CO2 from concrete by 2030. Globally, the cheapest new electric power plant you can install is based on renewables which explains why it now makes up more than 70% of all new capacity. And green economies are going to generate a remarkable number of new jobs. The EU anticipates 2 million new jobs. Here in the U.S. until COVID we had 5 years of steady growth in clean energy employment with over 3.3 million workers put into jobs across our country. India has seen a fivefold increase in clean energy jobs over the same period. And that’s just a taste of the marketplace without limits that awaits us if we get serious.

The bottom line, my friends, is, I don’t think anyone can say- I mean individual countries have been serious, individual companies have been serious, but as a world we have yet to be really serious and do what we need to do. And according to most of the recent statistics, emissions globally rose over the years since Paris. And while 2020 obviously saw a small dip because of COVID, they are now again on the rise, and everybody expects a quick rebound unless much more stringent policies are put in place.

To be on track and accomplish this, even with a 66% probability of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees, we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030. What does that mean? It means we have to phase out coal five times faster than we have been. It means we have to increase tree cover five times faster. It means we have to ramp up renewable energy six times faster. It means we have to transition to electric vehicles at a rate 22 times faster. All of that is achievable if we plan, if we invest, and if we tap the forces of the marketplace. Can we do it? We actually can. But not unless we summon greater political will, not unless we harness the full energy of the marketplace, not unless we ask the private sector to help our financial institutions mobilize essential trillions in the innovation and the finance that we need.

I believe that’s achievable and like all of you, I cannot wait to bring us all together, get us together at whatever fora it is, anywhere in the world. There are many of them that are going to take place. We all have to work together, this is a matter of multilateral leadership, not any one country or any one group of people. We all are committed to working with Alok and the British and Italian presidencies and making Glasgow exactly what it needs to be where we have portfolios that add up to net zero emissions, and I can’t wait to be at it with everybody. Thank you.



World Bank: People Spend Half a Trillion Dollars Out-Of-Pocket on Health in Developing Countries Annually
TOKYO, Japan, June 27, 2019 -- People in developing countries spend half a trillion dollars annually — over $80 per person -- out of their own pockets to access health services, and such expenses hit the poor the hardest, according to a new report by the World Bank Group launched ahead of the G20 Summit. It says that lack of universal access to quality, affordable health services threatens decades-long progress on health, endangers countries’ long-term economic prospects, and makes them more vulnerable to pandemic risks.
Financing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in developing countries is a priority for the G20 Presidency of Japan. The World Bank report will inform a first-ever G20 Finance and Health Ministers joint session hosted by Japan on June 28 in Osaka, after being discussed by G20 Finance Ministers earlier this month. Globally, health is an important economic sector that accounts for 11 percent of GDP and generates millions of jobs, many of them for women.
“UHC is not just about better health, it is fundamental to inclusive growth,” said Taro Aso, Finance Minister of Japan. “Japan’s adoption of a system that provided quality, affordable healthcare in 1961 helped drive decades of social and economic progress. We believe UHC is essential for all developing countries and the G20 has a critical role to play to enable it.”
The report, titled High-Performance Health Financing for Universal Health Coverage, projects that by the year 2030, the target date of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there will be a $176 billion gap in the 54 poorest countries between the financing needed to provide their populations with quality, affordable health services and funding that is actually available. Without urgent action, developing countries faced with aging populations and growing burdens of non-communicable diseases will find themselves increasingly challenged to close the gap between the demand for health spending and available public resources, and will prolong the reliance on out-of-pocket spending by patients and their families.
“Health is an essential human capital investment that countries must make for their people to succeed at school and at work,” said Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank. “We must act urgently to fix the insufficient, inefficient, and inequitable financing of health that is holding back people and countries.”
The report calls for increases in national investments in health and making investment in health a whole-of-government priority, improving financial sustainability by scaling proven investments like primary health services that reach the poorest, and taxing tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks to raise revenue and improve health. It says international assistance for health should be increased, focused on countries and populations that are furthest behind and on building national institutions and capacities.
“The African Union has made a commitment in February 2019 to increase national investments in health on the continent, and to institutionalize collaboration between Ministers of Finance and Health in Africa,” said Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance of Egypt, which is currently chair of the African Union and invited to the G20 special Ministerial session in Osaka. “We welcome this G20 and World Bank Group initiative and intend to take this agenda forward at the regional level in Africa over the next year during Egypt’s Presidency of the AU.”
Even in the best-case scenario with greater, more efficient and more equitable country and international investments, the report projects that the 2030 UHC financing gap will not be closed. It urges that health financing therefore be a major priority for innovation over the next decade to help bridge the gap.

Prime minister of Japan on preparations and expectations at 2019 G20 summit in Osaka Japan

Following the successful completion of the G20 Buenos Aires Summit on December 1, 2018, Japan has finally assumed the G20 presidency for the very first time. Next year, Japan will host the G20 Osaka Summit on June 28 and 29, 2019. In addition to the G20 members, we will also welcome leaders of invited guest countries and head of invited guest international organizations. This will be the largest summit meeting that Japan has ever hosted.

Osaka will be the venue for hosting the G20, the “premier forum for international economic cooperation,” which gathers and brings together many developed countries and emerging countries with growing presence in the international economy. Osaka has historically prospered as a commercial hub and its unique tradition and culture, including food culture, has recently gained much reputation home and abroad. Moreover, Osaka has thrived as a merchant city and has constantly sought to take in new ideas. It is a place where the spirit and willingness to take on new challenges has been nurtured, and was also chosen to host the Osaka-Kansai Expo in 2025.

At the Osaka Summit, Japan is determined to lead global economic growth by promoting free trade and innovation, achieving both economic growth and reduction of disparities, and contributing to the development agenda and other global issues with the SDGs at its core. Through these efforts, Japan seeks to realize and promote a free and open, inclusive and sustainable, "human-centered future society."

In addition, we will lead discussions on the supply of global commons for realizing global growth such as quality infrastructure and global health. As the presidency, we will exert strong leadership in discussions aimed towards resolving global issues such as climate change and ocean plastic waste.

Furthermore, we will discuss how to address the digital economy from an institutional perspective and issues that arise from an aging society. We will introduce Japan’s efforts, including the productivity revolution amid a “Society 5.0” era, towards achieving a society where all individuals are actively engaged.

We will also be hosting related Ministerial meetings starting from the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka,
Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in Niigata,
Ministerial Meeting on Trade and Digital Economy in Tsukuba, Ibaraki,
Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth in Karuizawa, Nagano,
Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting in Matsuyama, Ehime,
Health Ministers’ Meeting in Okayama,
Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in Kutchan, Hokkaido,
and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nagoya, Aichi.

There will be many delegations and journalists from all over the world who will be visiting Japan on the occasion of the Osaka Summit and these Ministerial meetings. We will take this as an opportunity to exhibit Japan’s "Omotenashi" spirit (hospitality) and introduce the unique aspects and attractiveness of Japan and the host cities to the world.

With great support from you all, I am determined to lead the Osaka Summit towards great success.