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Kerry Gives First Foreign Policy Speech … on Climate Change

1:33 PM, Feb 20, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Secretary of State John Kerry gave his first major foreign policy speech today. In his address, delivered at the University of Virginia, he discussed tackling climate change.

"We as a nation must have the foresight and courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and grandchildren: an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts, and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate," said Kerry, according to prepared remarks.

"And let’s face it – we are all in this one together. No nation can stand alone. We share nothing so completely as our planet. When we work with others – large and small – to develop and deploy the clean technologies that will power a new world, we’re also helping create new markets and new opportunities for America’s second-to-none innovators and entrepreneurs to succeed in the next great revolution."

Kerry called for collective action to deal with this problem. "So let’s commit ourselves to doing the smart thing and the right thing and truly commit to tackling this challenge," he said. "Because if we don’t rise to meet it, rising temperatures and rising sea levels will surely lead to rising costs down the road. If we waste this opportunity, it may be the only thing our generations are remembered for. We need to find the courage to leave a far different legacy."

"We cannot talk about the unprecedented changes happening on our planet without talking about the unprecedented changes in its population – another great opportunity at our fingertips," he warned. 

But midway through the climate change section, Kerry paused. "Can we all say thank you and to our signers?" the secretary of state said referencing those who were translating his speech into sign language.

The audience applauded.

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