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Kerry, Bloomberg tout economics of clean energy investment

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Kerry, Bloomberg tout economics of clean energy investment

Actingto avoid the worst effects of climate change by investing in cleaner energy resourceswill not only save lives, but also provide economic opportunity around the globe,Secretary of State John Kerry said April 5.

Speakingat the Bloomberg New Energy Finance summit in New York City, Kerry said there isgrowing awareness of the need to move toward low-carbon energy sources. "Thefact is, when we talk about the future of energy, we are actually talking aboutthe future of everything," he asserted.

Kerrysaid the Paris climate agreementsends a clear signal to all sectors of the economy that the future of energy mustbe low carbon. He also has been predicting that combating climate change will unlocka multi-trillion global marketplace for clean energy. Kerry noted that in 2015,investment in renewable energy reached $330 billion, and more of the world's moneywent toward fostering renewable energy technologies than on fossil fuel plans.

The boostin renewable energy development has been sparked by favorable government policies,Kerry acknowledged, but he added that "it is the private sector that will ultimatelytake us to the finish line."

"Solvingclimate change will require perhaps the largest public-private partnership the worldhas ever attempted," Kerry said. "At its core, the Paris agreement thatPresident Obama and I and so many of you here … worked for is about ensuring aboutpublic-private energy collaboration in every part of the world for generations tocome."

Kerrytherefore praised business leaders for taking part in efforts to fight climate changeand investing in cleaner energy sources. He noted that during a 1992 U.N. climateconference in Rio de Janeiro, only 13 people represented the business sector. Duringthe Paris talks, more than 1,000 business representatives showed up.

"Theprivate sector is today demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to transformingglobal energy use, and it is because of your leadership that I am so confident aboutthe future. Make no mistake, it's not going to be the government alone that getsus there, as I said," Kerry stated. "It's going to be innovators, workers,entrepreneurs, those of you who've been hammering away at this challenge for manyyears."

In remarksintroducing Kerry, former New York City Mayor and Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloombergsaid economics is the "single most important reason" for the success ofthe Paris climate summit.

"Governmentsincreasingly recognize that fighting climate change is just smart economic policy,"he said. "In many parts of the world, including much of America, clean energyis now cheaper than coal, and when you add in the devastating health costs of coalpollution, the choice becomes even clearer."

Bloombergalso pointed to steps that local governments and businesses are taking to cut carbonand use cleaner sources of energy. One example is Bloomberg LP aiming to boost theoverall energy efficiency of its operations by 40% and announcing a few months agothat it would purchase energy from a wind farm in upstate New York to help powerits Manhattan office and help the company meet its goal of getting 100% power fromrenewable sources by 2025.

Bloombergsaid those efforts make good business sense as the company expects to save morethan $150 million in operating costs by 2025. He also said many businesseshave yet to price in the cost of ignoring carbon pollution.

"Thereality is climate change presents risks to businesses, the more they know aboutthese risks, the better they'll be able to mitigate them," Bloomberg said.

Bloombergrecounted that during the Paris summit, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announceda task force to help standardize the measurement and reporting of climate risk tothe global financial system. Bloomberg serves as chair of that group, which is workingto create voluntary guidelines for companies to measure and report their climaterisk.

"Themore that risk gets priced into the market, the more attractive clean energy investmentswill be," Bloomberg said.