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Kerry & Romney on U.S. climate policies and energy innovation

John Kerry and Sen. Mitt Romney join Washington Post Live on Thursday, Dec. 8. (Video: The Washington Post)

Climate-fueled disasters are worsening across the United States and threatening what Americans value most in their everyday lives, warns a recent federal report. Join Washington Post Live for a conversation with special climate envoy John Kerry about the Biden administration’s climate policies at home and abroad. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) will later discuss U.S. investments in clean energy innovation and the prospects for bipartisan cooperation in the next Congress. This event is as part of a new, special week-long series, “This is Climate.”

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“Obviously, everybody is excited and delighted for that. Most people believe she was wrongfully held and was given a ridiculous sentence … It’s always terrific when you can get somebody out. I know the President and everybody would’ve preferred that Paul Whelan could’ve come out too. So, there remains work to be done, but I think it's absolutely fabulous." - John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (Video: Washington Post Live)
“It’s very tricky and very complicated. There aren’t many legislatures in the world that are prepared to put up public money in the sums that we need. I believe that there’s no government in the world … that has the kind of money necessary to affect this transition at the pace we have to do it … If the public sector doesn’t have the money, who does? There’s only one place, it’s in the private sector … We can't run around and do one bespoke deal here, another bespoke deal there. It just isn't going to be vast enough. Everything has to accelerate by fast amounts … If you’re going to keep the earth's temperature at 1.5 degrees of increase. Why is that important? Because every tenth of a degree above the 1.5 takes you into what scientists will say is really dangerous uncharted territory. Which is far more expensive to cope with.” - John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I was disappointed that it wasn't a more collective decision that everybody agreed on with respect to mitigation. And there’s are two levels to look at … There are individual nations that have stepped up that are doing things. And then, there's the collective that has to really join together to make this happen. At the collective level, I think it fell slightly short. In the individual level there were a lot of countries that did step up.” - John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (Video: Washington Post Live)
“The United States of America, proudly, is the largest humanitarian donor in the world. The American people already do an enormous amount around the world … We’re on deck, we’re in the fight … We have to step up to lead. But we also have to demand everybody else is at the table. And that means China too. And other countries who can’t hide behind this UN cloak … It’s a common but differentiated principle that we apply to this … But common means you accept your level of appropriate responsibility.” - John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I'm delighted she's being released. The fact that they held her, arrested her, put her in jail is outrageous and says a lot about them. And the trade they've made says a lot about both of us. We care about an individual, a human being, it’s symbolic that we go to great lengths to recover our citizens. At the same time, who do they want to get back? An arms dealer. It’s symbolic of our two nations. I’m very disappointed that Paul Whelan was not part of this trade. I would think that our focus ought to be bringing people home based on who’s been there the longest, as opposed to who perhaps, is the most publicly known figure. But I’m sure the administration did their very best to get Paul out. And hopefully we’ll see him out soon.” - Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) (Video: Washington Post Live)
“Have some people lost their way? Yes. Are others filled with a vision for the future? Absolutely. I think we’ve got 12 people or more that would like to be president, that are thinking of running in 2024. If President Trump continues in his campaign, I’m not sure anyone of them can make it through and beat him. I think he’s got such a strong base of 30 or 40 percent of the Republican voters, maybe more. It’s going to be hard to knock him off as our nominee. If he became our nominee, I think he loses again … I voted to remove him from office twice … It’s not just because he loses … but it’s also he’s simply not a person who I want to have the reins of the government of the United States … I hope that we find someone in my party who has those qualities to lead America to a better future.” - Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) (Video: Washington Post Live)
“For me, the reason for a price on carbon is to create massive incentive for the private sector to innovate … A lot of what we’re doing sounds good, but won’t make a difference … We do things that are politically attractive … We have to do things that will be adopted everywhere. Not just things that make us feel better about ourselves here. Those things, nice to do. They’re not harmful to do necessarily. But when we spend a lot of money to do them and divert from the real answers then I think they can be counterproductive." - Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) (Video: Washington Post Live)
“There’s not enough being done coming out of [COP.] There are several things that we can really do that would change the trajectory. The folks at MIT built a model … and the only thing that had a major impact was having a price on carbon. A carbon tax … that’s the only thing that has a significant impact … The Democratic Party had an opportunity, this year … they could’ve put in place that carbon tax … They didn’t do it on their own. You can’t blame Republicans when Democrats change tax law, spent $1.9 trillion … entirely on their own. This is something they could’ve done and should’ve done. This is not going to happen very often, where you have one party in charge of the House, the Senate and The White House. They could’ve done it. It was an opportunity that was missed and we’ll be very sorry for that for a long time.” - Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) (Video: Washington Post Live)

John Kerry

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

Sen. Mitt Romney