Kerry: 'Energy Policy' Will Solve Climate Change and Create 'Mother of All Markets'

By Susan Jones | February 3, 2014 | 10:45 AM EST

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski,Pool)

( - Just as computer technology greatly expanded Americans' wealth in the 1990s, the clean energy market could do the same thing in the years ahead, Secretary of State John Kerry told the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Saturday.

He touted climate change as a societal challenge and an economic opportunity:

"We created the greatest wealth the world has seen during the 1990s, greater even in America than the period of the Pierponts and the Morgans and the Rockefellers, Carnegies, Mellons--much greater. You know what it was? It was a $1-trillion market with 1 billion users. It was the high-tech market, the personal computer mostly, communications.

"The energy market that we are staring at--that is the solution to the climate change," Kerry continued. "Energy policy is the solution to climate change. That market, my friends, is a $6-trillion market today with 4 to 5 billion users today, and it will grow to some 9 billion users over the course of the next 20 to 30 years.

"It is the mother of all markets, and only a few visionaries are doing what is necessary to reach out and touch it and grab it and command its future."

Kerry urged conference attendees to read the latest report from the Intergovernmental  Panel on Climate Change. "It's really chilling," he said. "And what's chilling is not rhetoric; it's the scientific facts, scientific facts. And our history is filled with struggles through the Age of Reason and the Renaissance and the Enlightenment for all of us to learn some respect for science. The fact is that there is no doubt about the real day-to-day impact of the human contribution to the change in climate."

Kerry said although climate change is solvable, the skeptics need to be convinced by the ruling class:

"There seems to be an absence of will, an absence of collective leadership that's ready to come together and tell our people -- not what they're necessarily telling us through this crazy social media... but for us as leaders to suggest to them, this is what you ought to be interested in, because it actually affects your life and your livelihood and your future."

Last November, in a speech to the Organization of American States, Kerry called the "new energy market" the "biggest market in human history."

"The Americas have become the new center of our global energy map," Kerry told the OAS. "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. And what that means is that we have the ability and the great responsibility to influence the way that the entire world is powered.

"To do this, it will require each of our nations to make some very fundamental policy choices. We need to embrace the energy future over the energy of the past."

In that speech, Kerry talked about deploying new energy technology and connecting electrical grids throughout the Americas, to create a shared market.

"If we harness the power of the wind in Mexico and the biomass in Brazil, the sunshine in Chile and Peru, the natural gas in the United States and Argentina, then the enormous benefits for local economies, public health, and of course climate change mitigation could reach every corner of the Americas and beyond."

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