On November 18, 2013, at a meeting convened by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Dialogue, Secretary Kerry spoke in favor of cooperation among the countries of the Western Hemisphere based on a relationship between equals, with the aim of strengthening democracy, investing in education, and combating climate change. Alluding to prosperity in the Americas, Kerry said that “one of the opportunities that is staring at us […] is a 6-trillion dollar market with 4 billion users. I am talking about the new energy market.” Secretary Kerry highlighted that the energy market “will help us to answer […] whether or not we will leave to our children and grandchildren a planet that is healthy, clean and sustainable.” He emphasized that the region has a unique opportunity to play a central role in the field of clean energy. “The Americas have become the new center of our global energy map. Our Hemisphere supplies now one fourth of the world’s crude oil and nearly one fourth of its coal. We support over a third of global electricity. What that means is that we have the ability and the great responsibility to influence the way the entire world is powered,” he concluded.
Speaking about environmental challenges, Secretary Kerry said that “climate change is real; it is happening. And if we don’t take significant action as partners, it will continue to threaten not only our environment and our communities, but […] our entire way of life.” He added that “the challenge of climate change will cost us far more for its negative impact than the investment that we need to make today in order to meet the challenge.” Kerry stressed that combating climate change is an urgent priority for President Obama, whose administration unveiled a new climate action plan to drive more aggressive domestic policy on climate change. “Many other nations in the Western Hemisphere are also working hard to do their part” said Kerry, adding that “I am proud to say that as part of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, the United States has collaborated with more than two dozen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in order to support effective programs to address the reality of this grave threat.” He mentioned the outstanding breakthroughs that are happening in clean energy, and encouraged the region to share its expertise in order to deploy new technologies as a means to develop a cleaner, more vibrant and sustainable energy marketplace. Full text of Secretary Kerry’s speech