Hello, I’m Heba. I have sent you this link because I REALLY want to work at your organization because I think your company is pretty awesome– I wouldn’t have sent this link to you otherwise. Below, you will find a list of the reasons I would make a great employee and creative partner. I hope by the end of this post you will learn more about me and give me a chance.
Here it goes:
1. I have a BA in Journalism from Penn State, an MA from Dartmouth College in Liberal Studies and an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter.
2. I’m a fast learner.
I’m very much a hands on learner and I hit the ground running. As well as learning quickly, I’m always looking and finding ways to make work tasks more time efficient.
3. I’m dedicated and focused.
Once I set my mind on a goal, I put my all into achieving it. In 2006, after a mere month of fundraising, I was able to raise almost $1 million in medical supplies for war torn regions. How many other people can say that?
4. I have strong writing and editing skills.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. In addition to my BA in Journalism, in which I had a 3.67 GPA in my major, I had a focus in Creative Writing during my first MA at Dartmouth College.
5. I’m willing to move.
I have lived in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Switzerland, the U.K., Jordan, Palestine and Israel. I’m a professional at packing and moving. I’m more than willing to move for the right opportunity.
6. I can roll with the punches.
I consider myself a perfectionist, but I understand that things can’t be perfect all the time. Sometimes, you have to do the best you can with what you have. I can handle all sorts of circumstances that come my way. Kind of like when I can’t find Collection or Gabrini eyeliner anywhere and I have to make due with Almay.
7. I’m organized.
Really, I am. I even won an MVP award from my time working at the GAP because I was the most organized employee.
8. I can stay calm in a crisis.
Accidents happen and sometimes they’re unavoidable. Someone misses a deadline, a package wasn’t delivered on time, products break, people get hurt– Life happens. Working with kids between the ages of 5-17 has taught me to stay calm in all sorts of crazy scenarios. And if you’ve ever worked with kids, you know how crazy things can get.
9. I love to laugh.
Laughing and making others laugh is a great talent of mine. I’m not signing up for any open mic nights or doing any stand-up comedy acts, but I can find the funny in the ordinary.
10. I like to read.
In elementary school, I set the record for the most books read during National Reading Month. You can always find me with a book in hand or an article on screen.
11. I live online and stay on top of all the new trends.
Most of my day is spent online digging through the mountains of information, videos, photos and such. I’m always on the lookout for the next big thing and am always the first one of my friends to identify viral material and trends.
12. The world inspires me.
Everywhere I look, everyone I see, inspires me in some sort of way. Everyone I meet and encounter leaves a mark on me and inspires me to make the world a better place.
13. I’m well-versed in social media.
Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, Periscope, Instagram, Pinterest– I love it all.
14. I’m a realistic optimist.
I try to see the best in everyone and in every situation, but my expectations are always realistic. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
15. I can work with a team, as well as on my own.
Being a journalist, I’ve learned to work as part of a team. Especially when working as an editor, much of the position is dependent on working with others. Working in groups is great because everyone brings a different perspective to the project at hand. But, I have also been a teacher and have had to take responsibility for creating curriculums all on my own. Working on my own is also great because I get to see how far I can push myself.
16. I have experience managing volunteers.
Remember that huge fundraiser I talked about earlier? Well, I had recruited and managed the efforts of more than 50 volunteers in under a week’s time. I was responsible for training the volunteers, managing their schedules, communicating their needs and supervising their delegated responsibilities.
17. I’m an email wizard.
Any of my former students can tell you that I respond to emails as soon as I possibly can, sometimes within minutes.
18. I’m creative.
I dabble in the arts and always have new and innovative ideas running through my head.
19. I have lots of interests.
I like fashion, desserts, poems, coffee, bright colors, food, photography, art, literature, movies, music, naps, decorating, calligraphy, libraries and spending time with my friends.
20. I’m great at conflict resolution.
I’m an American-Palestinian-Arab-Muslim-woman with Israeli citizenship. If that doesn’t make me an expert problem solver, I don’t know what does.
21. I’m good at stuff.
I’m a good listener and a good friend. Some other things I’m good at include, but are not limited to: eyeliner application, fashion styling, tea brewing and reality check administrating. I’m also a pretty great actress in life more so than in art.
22. I have experience writing blogs, fiction, nonfiction, research papers, listicles, essays, executive reports, newsletters and more.
I can do it all because I have done it all. Writing, of all sorts, is what I do and it is what makes me happy.
23. I’m confident in my abilities to speak and relate to different types of communicators.
Not everyone communicates in the same way. I have learned to adjust my tone, vocabulary and methods to fit the person I am speaking to.
24. I’m proficient in Word and other software.
Word, Adobe, ProTools, PCs, Macs, FinalCut and so much more.
25. I’m pretty good at evaluating situations.
I’ve always been good at reading a situation. I’m pretty observant and I can usually tell when someone is sad, happy, irritated, excited or any other range of emotion.
26. My creative writing pieces have been published in several magazines.
You can check out my published writing by clicking on the Portfolio link at the top of the page.
27. I’m always looking to improve.
Whether it’s getting a new haircut or trying to learn a new language, I’m always trying to improve myself, both inside and out.
28. I can dish it and I can take it… In a respectful manner, of course.
As a writer, criticism can be tough. I put my heart and soul into my work and I know how disheartening harsh criticism can be. I’ve grown a thick skin over the years and can take criticism pretty well. I believe that criticism should always be constructive and when I give constructive criticism to an employee, I am always respectful and appreciative for their hard work. Constructive criticism should always help the other person improve their work and boost their self-confidence.
29. I take pride in my work.
But just the right amount of pride. I’m not cocky, I promise.
30. I want to plant some roots.
I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve had a lot of different type of jobs. Now, I’m ready to settle down and really grow within a company.
31. I’m a coordination queen.
That goes for both my outfits and my workload. I’m all about the time management skills.
32. I’m passionate about human rights, education, social justice, prison reform, women’s health, politics and life.
33. I’m always prepared.
I watch a lot of scary movies. As a result, I’m now prepared for any and all scenarios, at all times. If the zombie apocalypse ever happens, come with me because I have a plan.
34. I like to bake.
I love baking and all things sweet. I also believe that sharing is caring, so, if you hire me you will be sure to have a taste of the sweet life.
35. I smell nice.
I wear perfume even when I don’t leave the house, because I deserve to smell nice. I’m also super hygienic and carry around hand-sanitizer that doubles as lotion. It’s kind of my thing.
36. I love animals.
Well, most animals. I have a fear of geese and swans, but other than that, I love animals. One of my dreams is to open up an animal sanctuary so I can love and hang out with my animal friends all day.
37. I’m a feminist.
I believe everyone should be a feminist and we should all be working towards equality and justice for women.
38. I make 11:11 wishes for good measure.
It can’t hurt, right? I’ll make a wish for you too.
39. My life is a meme.
Anyone who knows me, knows that if there is a one in a million chance of something strange happening to someone, it’s going to be me. And most days people get a kick out of it. Me included.
40. I want to work and have fun doing it.
I want my work to be meaningful and I want to enjoy doing it. I’m not looking to clock in and clock out. I want to make a difference and improve people’s lives. I may not be able to change the world, but I certainly can change a tiny corner of it– even if it is one person.
It’s like they [Confucius] say: Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
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Craig Stephen Copland is a native of Toronto, Canada and now divides his time between Canada, where his children and grandchildren live, and Manhattan/Washington DC, where he still pretends to be writing and consulting. Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s he was an English major at the University of Toronto and had the good fortune to study under both Northrup Frye and Marshall McLuhan. At sometime in the decades since he became a Sherlockian and developed a minor addiction to the sacred canon of Arthur Conan Doyle stories about the great detective.
He is a recent member of the Sherlock Holmes Society of Canada, who have met faithfully for many years under the name of The Bootmakers and recommends this excellent group of fine chaps and fascinating ladies to all those who share a devotion to Mr. Holmes.
In real life, when he has time for it, he writes about and serves as a consultant for political campaigns in Canada and the USA but would likely abandon that vocation if he thought for a moment he could make a living writing about Sherlock Holmes.
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Washington, DC 20009
FOREIGN PRESS CENTER BRIEFING WITH DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE AND SENIOR OFFICIAL FOR APEC MATT MATTHEWS
TOPIC: PREVIEW OF APEC 2015
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2015, 10:30 A.M. EDT
THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.
MR ZIMMER: Good morning. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. My name is Mark Zimmer. I’m one of the Media Relations Officers here. We’re very pleased to welcome you this morning to a pre-brief of the APEC 2015 meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Matthews.
Before we start, I’d like to take a moment to mention International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. That’s today, November 2nd. I don’t have to tell this group about the importance of a free press as part of every vibrant democracy regardless of location or culture. This commemoration, which the UN General Assembly initiated in 2013, reminds all of us of our responsibility to prevent violence against members of the media and to ensure accountability for those who do commit violence. The United States Government commends all of you for your role in promoting free speech, and we recognize the importance of journalists being able to do their work without fear.
With that, let me please welcome Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Matthews. He will have some opening remarks, and then we’ll take questions. I will moderate that session. We’ll welcome colleagues in New York as appropriate. Thank you.
MR MATTHEWS: Good morning. I’m very happy to be here with you all to just preview a few items in the lead-up to our APEC senior officials meeting, the APEC ministerial, and of course, the APEC leaders meeting, which will conclude our APEC year.
I think as all of you know, APEC is a critical piece of our economic architecture in the Asia Pacific region, and we see it as the premier organization for advancing free and open trade and investment. It’s also used to foster cooperation in promoting sustainable and equitable growth. One of the most important parts of our Rebalance agenda is for shared prosperity in the region, and APEC contributes directly to that agenda. There are a number of things that go into it, but APEC basically is structured to help regional integration, stability, and to support rules conducive to U.S. economic competitiveness both for us and the region as a whole.
There are a couple of reasons why APEC really does work and works effectively. Number one, it’s the institution in the region that we use where we can cooperate on freer and more open trade and investment. It’s the right environment for holding those discussions. We have the right experts together both from government and from business to create substantial and workable, practical measures that help move us forward in that area.
It’s also a good institution for capacity building. The United States participates in that, but so do other economies in APEC. And the purpose of that capacity building is to make sure our participatory economies in APEC or developing countries have the capabilities that enable them to take advantage of the trade liberalization that we move forward on in APEC.
And, lastly, I’d say that it’s key to ensuring economic growth that is sustainable and that benefits everyone. That’s a key element in the themes that you’ll hear time and again during the Philippines’ year, is inclusive growth. It’s really something that APEC has been working on for some time, but it is being highlighted during the Philippine host year.
So, we see APEC being able to move forward on all these fronts because it’s an incubator for new ideas, for innovative approaches, and for tackling challenges in the region that other folks haven’t thought of or tried before. That’s facilitated, as I said, by the level of frank and open discussion that we can have in APEC. And we can have that kind of frank and open discussion because it’s an organization that’s based on consensus, and the outcomes that we reach are non-binding except inasmuch as each and every member economy commits to doing the things that we all have agreed make sense to do, that we all agree will expand trade, will create greater prosperity, and create benefits across our economies.
So what you’ll see over time is each and every economy coming to a conclusion, coming to a consensus within APEC, and then going home and doing the things they need to do to make those proposals fact, to make them real, to actually open their economies in ways that actually have spurred growth in the region.
I believe that APEC not only has but will continue to play essential role in enabling agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and those of the WTO by helping economies envision and prepare for high-standard rules-based economic systems throughout the region. I think one perfect example of how APEC has done that is in the area of environmental goods and services.
So I just thought I’d highlight it for you because this year is the year in which all economies have committed to implementing commitments to either reduce tariffs on 54 items in the environmental goods and services list to below 5 percent or zeroing them out completely. That’s an amazing step forward, and it’s a step that inspired the WTO to try to pick up a similar process. And it’s moving forward now on a global framework.
So, again, incubator of ideas, effective means of communication within APEC where we have open discussions and plenty of time to examine the consequences of what a policy move might mean, then consensus and moving forward on it to implementation and providing that idea for others in the global economic community as a point of reference and, perhaps, adoption as in the case of environmental goods and services.
So that environmental goods and services list and the implementation of it is one of the real key highlights for deliverables this year. But there is much more on the APEC agenda, and first and foremost I would say is work on digital economy. This is something we’ve been working on for the past couple of years and we’re continuing to prepare it to ensure that the internet and the dissemination of new technologies that have led to rapid change is, in fact, possible within the APEC environment.
What does this really mean for us? It means that the internet needs to be open for markets and for free flow of information. The free flow of information is critical to firms making rapid and accurate decisions. So anything that prevents the free flow of information on the internet really is an impediment to growth. It’s an impediment to prosperity.
So we’re supporting a discussion in APEC that looks to identify those barriers and, as we move forward not only just this year but in the years to come, to thinking about ways we can move forward of dealing with the digital economy as a major trade issue for APEC, one that will allow us to address barriers in an effective way across the board.
The goal here, of course, is to make sure that we have a 21st economy in the Asia Pacific that continues to drive growth for the globe, and we’ll do that by making sure that we’re on that cutting edge, that we’re taking advantage of all the tools and all the benefits that the internet has that we can apply to our economic systems.
Another thing, of course, moving forward is work on the free trade area of the Pacific. There is a study going on now and … working chapters are being developed by various economies. That is something that will be progressing year by year as we look at ways of even broadening out the degree of integration within APEC.
There’s also, as I said, a key agenda on prosper – maintaining prosperity through sustainable, healthy, and resilient communities. So what are we talking about there? In APEC, we’ve come up with practical applications for dealing with marine debris. There are better programs going out now where cities are undertaking very pragmatic programs that will take debris, waste material, and turn it into energy – just a creative and effective and economically viable approach. Again, we’re doing it as an example, not only to the Asia Pacific region, but for the globe as well.
Fossil fuel subsidy reviews – we’re taking a look in APEC at those fossil fuel subsidies and asking each economy to take a clear look and ask themselves whether it’s delivering economic benefit or is it perhaps counterproductive. And in those cases where they identify a counterproductive subsidy – that means a subsidy that doesn’t work to that – the goal that we have in mind or that – or there are other policy options that might be more efficient. Folks are then encouraged to pursue those other options.
On the environment, we’ve got a number of initiatives but, of course, first and foremost was the environmental goods and services agreement. And I’d just highlight for you, in terms of environment, that the reason why that’s important is we are encouraging businesses and encouraging economies to adopt the best available technologies that allow us to grow, but to grow greener by reducing our carbon footprint. One key way to do that is by zeroing out the tariff, cutting the tax on those items so that businesses are more likely to adopt those technologies sooner and on a broader scale. That means that we can grow and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. But in addition to that, we’re also doing work on electric vehicles and, as I said, we’re doing this fossil fuel subsidy study. So there’s that element on environment.
Again, there’s an element covering health. And in health, we’ve done work on both reducing the barriers – or not reducing but at last identifying barriers to trade in health care products. Again, looking forward, what we’ve got in mind here is this: What we’re trying to do is improve the health outcomes in each and every economy, and one of the best ways of doing that is to take a look and see where are the tariff rates inconsistent with that goal? Where are they so high that they’re actually preventing good health care products from getting to consumers who need them? And, ultimately, what we’ll try to do is work together with our other APEC economies and come up with approaches of how we can reduce those barriers.
But another thing that we’re doing is working in public-private partnerships on infection prevention and the control that is working in conjunction with the global health security agenda.
And a third area of work in APEC, which is very important and which requires private sector assistance – and one reason why APEC is so effective is it brings the private sector together with government – is to take a look at innovative medical products and take a look at the kind of global standards we’re adopting in applying them.
I’ll give you a following-up area for work that we’re doing, is in women’s economic empowerment. Here, the most basic thing we’re trying to achieve is ensuring that each and every economy in APEC grows at its optimum level, but the only way you can really do that is by ensuring that women have a full right to participate in the workforce and to contribute to our economic growth.
So in a broad range of measures, both on – by identifying policy frameworks that can facilitate and encourage full participation of women in the economy through a digital dashboard, and through a number of other specific measures, including this year we had one on transportation – women and transportation, which took a very clear look at this key node, making sure that women have safe transportation systems to get them to and from work, to make sure that that doesn’t become a barrier to their participation in the workforce. And as a kind of ripple effect, allow economies to say, okay, that’s the way it worked in transportation; are there other areas in our economy that are, unbeknownst to us or without us having really thought through them, creating barriers that we didn’t intend but are in fact there? As we take a look at the policy settings, we can say here are things, practical things, we can do to make sure that there’s nothing that stands between a woman and her desire to participate in that economy and generate income for her family and help that economy grow.
So one last thing I would mention to you is our work on disaster preparedness. This is something that was particularly poignant, I think, for the Philippines here because the Philippines, of course, is subject to as many if not more disasters than any other economy in APEC, whether it’s volcanoes, whether it’s earthquakes, whether it’s typhoons. But all economies in APEC to some degree or other have to handle these kinds of challenges. And what we want to do, particularly in APEC, is make sure that we’re coordinating in ways that, number one, ensure that we can get humanitarian goods to and from any disaster zone as efficiently and effectively as possible. This means over time dealing with the customs regulations and restrictions that might slow down that process. Our goal here is to make sure we alleviate suffering as much as we possibly can, as soon as we possibly can. And a second element of the APEC’s work on disaster preparedness is, again, I think unique to APEC because it takes a look at what happens after you’ve dealt with the immediate humanitarian crisis: What about getting our supply chains back in business? What about getting our businesses back up and running? What about making sure we have resilient energy systems that can be either sustained through a disaster scenario or be returned to service as quickly as possible? We’re looking at all those kinds of elements within the framework of discussions in APEC. So I think you can see we have a really broad agenda, but it’s focused on delivering economic improvement and greater prosperity and greater equity throughout the system.
So I think with those opening remarks, I’ll just open it up.
MR ZIMMER: Thank you. Please identify yourself and your outlet. If any guests in New York come to the microphone, we’ll recognize them.
Please, in the middle here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. I have a question about India. India has applied for membership of APEC and Philippines said it’s considering it. What’s U.S. position on that?
MR MATTHEWS: I don’t believe that there’s any active consideration within APEC for expanded membership at the current time. From time to time, countries and economies will register interest and – at present, though, there’s been no significant discussion along those lines. But at a future date, those things may be reviewed and we will see where they go.
One thing I would suggest is for any economy that’s interested in APEC, a great way to start is to go into – identify sub-fora or working groups that work on particular areas across our APEC agenda that are of particular interest to them and apply as a guest to send experts in to participate, both to help understand how APEC works and to get a better understanding of how we process and turn out good outcomes that help APEC be that organization that pushes for leading-edge and innovative ways of expanding a more open and free trade and investment environment.
MR ZIMMER: In the middle here, please.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m Alexander Panetta from the Canadian Press. So there will be a new member of APEC this year – Canada has a new prime minister in two days. So I’m just wondering whether there are any plans for either a bilateral or a pull-aside with Canada’s new Prime Minister Trudeau and any issues that might be priorities for the United States in dealing with a new government.
MR MATTHEWS: Well, Canada has a new prime minister and we welcome the prime minister into the APEC family, but Canada is not a new member. And Canada is a very significant and important member of APEC, one which we work with very closely. We anticipate having a tremendous amount of continuity in the APEC agenda and that Canada, if it does have new priorities that it would like to raise or address, I’m sure we’ll be hearing from the prime minister and his team when we go into the ministerial and leaders agenda period during these discussions coming up. But nothing’s been raised as of yet that I’m aware of.
MR ZIMMER: Thanks very much. Let’s go to the side here, please.
QUESTION: My name is Varughese George. I have a follow-up question on India. I’m from India, The Hindu newspaper. India has already been an observer since 2011 and President Obama, when he visited India last year, did say that the U.S. would support India’s membership in APEC. So are you suggesting that there is no forward movement at all on that – India’s request for membership?
MR MATTHEWS: I think it’s just important to be very careful and accurate about describing the President’s comments. The President has welcomed India’s interest in APEC, and I think that speaks for itself. We are welcoming your interest. We welcome India’s examination of what APEC’s all about, but we have not entered into a discussion and I don’t believe India is formally pressing for actual membership now in APEC. And remember, keep this in mind, APEC is an organization that’s consensus-based. So each and every member of APEC has to agree to an expansion of APEC membership, and no discussions in APEC this year have focused on that topic – just so you’re focused on that, okay? You’re welcome.
MR ZIMMER: We’ll do the front and then we’ll go to the back, please.
QUESTION: Thank you, Matt. Rita Cheng from Central News Agency, Taiwan. Every year the U.S. delegation will meet with the Taiwan’s counterpart during the APEC. I wondered is there any meeting confirmed during this year? And any other topic that you will be discuss with Taiwan’s counterpart?
And also, not every country in – of APEC has been included in TPP. I wonder the America – how America and in what way will put the – cooperate the TPP (inaudible) with the – like the region’s economic framework? Thank you.
MR MATTHEWS: Okay, I’m not sure if I got all of that. But first and foremost, Taipei is a full member in APEC – Chinese Taipei is a full member in APEC, and it works across the whole APEC agenda with every other economy in APEC and we work with Chinese Taipei in those various sub-fora and working groups, in senior official meetings that I participate in with, and of course during ministerials and even the leaders meeting. So I think you can anticipate that, just as in prior years, Chinese Taipei will be an active participant in all those elements and we look forward to that.
MR ZIMMER: In the back, please.
QUESTION: Good morning. My name is Adam Xu from Voice of America, Mandarin service. I have two questions. You mentioned the U.S. will support the discussion on the free flow of information on the internet. I’m wondering: Do you have a list of participants in the (inaudible) or is this discussion going to be carried out? And can you elaborate on the focus of such discussion, and what are your expectations?
And my second question is about the South China Sea. Given the recent tensions in South China Sea, is it going to be on the agenda in the APEC discussions?
MR. MATTHEWS: Thank you. So, on digital economy, right now we’re at an early stage in the APEC process on discussing the digital economy and digital trade issues, so I would say that this is essentially a working-level process. But both at ministerial and, I believe hopefully, at the leaders level there will be acknowledgement that this is an important issue that has to be discussed and engaged in, but it primarily has to be engaged at this working level to make sure we kind of start to flesh out all the different specifics that we think are critical to ensuring that we have a free and open internet that supports future economic growth. So I guess that’s where I’d say we’re on that one.
And I have nothing for you on the South China Sea, except I would just reiterate that APEC is an organization that focuses on economic issues.
MR ZIMMER: How about on the side for this one.
QUESTION: Hi, 21st Century Business Herald. About TPP, some trade experts told me that among the TPP members in the ASEAN countries, Malaysia will be the one, the country that will face a lot of challenge during the TPP ratification process in terms of the prime minister’s challenge from his own party and from parliament. So is this the case, or do you optimistic about the ratification process of TPP in Malaysia as there will be a trade minister session in the APEC? Thanks.
MR MATTHEWS: Well, I am optimistic about ratification of the TPP agreement by all the participating economies. It doesn’t mean that it won’t take a lot of work. Even in our own country we anticipate it’s going to be a major effort to make sure we do a good job of explaining the actual outcomes of TPP and what the benefits are. But we remain optimistic and I think we remain optimistic across all the participating economies.
MR ZIMMER: In the middle, please, then we’ll go to the back.
QUESTION: Hi, Maria Garcia, Notimex, the Mexican news agency. As – Mexico as a member of APEC has started ambitious economic reforms. Do you think that the Mexican model could be – to what extent the Mexican model could be regarded as a model for other members of the APEC?
MR MATTHEWS: Other members of APEC? Well, I would say this, that we have a very broad agenda of issues in APEC, and I would say it’s probably fair to say that almost every economy participating in APEC has at some point introduced innovative ideas or good policy suggestions that get discussed by APEC and ultimately adopted by APEC. And Mexico, of course, is one of them. But it’s part and parcel of the way in which we operate, so particularly in every host year whenever an economy decides to host, they have a chairmanship role which allows them to help highlight issues that they think are of critical importance, and they naturally do this in consultation with other economies. But it does give them a chance to provide some additional input.
But even in non-host years every economy has the ability to introduce at working levels at the senior official level new ideas that they think will help all the economies at APEC to grow more effectively. And Mexico has participated in that and they are an active and helpful player in helping us move towards a more liberal and open system. So I can only say thank you to Mexico.
MR ZIMMER: All the way in the back, please.
QUESTION: Hi, I’m Marion with NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation. I have two questions about two major economic developments in the region this year, first of all the TPP and then also economic uncertainty coming out of China and the resulting financial market volatility. And I’m wondering if those two things would specifically be on the agenda for the leaders’ summit. TPP, I assume, would definitely be a focus in the trade minister summit, but I’m wondering if there would be a sort of separate TPP meeting at the leaders’ level as well.
QUESTION: Well, there’s been no decision, I think at this point, on whether or not there will be a TPP sidebar meeting at the ministerial or at the leaders’ meeting, but I refer to USTR on that. As we get closer to the date they may have something more for you on that.
In terms of China, China is pursuing a broad-based economic reform agenda. It’s a challenging process of shifting the growth model – one dependent on investment and exports to domestic demand – and it’s a natural process you would anticipate that when you go through a major economic policy transition like this that issues will arise. They seem committed to the process. I think though the IMF and other economies understand their commitment and are supportive of their commitment to that reform process.
MR ZIMMER: Do we have more in the back? (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: Thank you very much. My name is Tatsuya Mizumoto from Jiji Press. About digital economy: so, are you discussing about cyber security? And then about TPP, I know you have no TPP agreements, so what kind of the impact you will have to (inaudible) by this?
MR MATTHEWS: Okay, cyber security does get raised in certain fora within APEC, and – but it’s – we have a pretty strong economic focus for the discussions. So what you want to do is make sure that you have systems in place that preserve trade secrets, that preserve the integrity of business information, et cetera. You want to make sure that economies are protected against potential economic downside of cyber hacking, et cetera.
But I’ll get back to you with more detail that would probably help you, because I don’t have the specifics in front of me but I’d be happy to give you more information on that in a follow-up.
And then your second question was? I’m sorry.
MR MATTHEWS: Yeah. So APEC’s agenda is separate – TPP is a separate negotiating group of economies. They’re all APEC members, but it’s done separately. So we’re not driving the APEC agenda based on what happens in the TPP negotiations. The APEC agenda keeps moving forward on trade liberalization processes regardless. So – but obviously, we all welcome the successful conclusion of the TPP, but it won’t directly affect the APEC discussion process.
MR ZIMMER: Do you have a short follow-up?
QUESTION: Yes, I want to follow that, so on the TPP. But I think as – to your final (inaudible) that you are going to write a TPP standard to – in the APEC area, right? So —
MR MATTHEWS: Right. So there are two things. There’s a free trade agreement of the Pacific discussion group, which basically is starting to flesh out what chapters in an APEC-wide agreement might look like. That discussion process will go forward, and is going forward, and chapters are being worked on by individual economies who have raised their hands and volunteered to help contribute. And I guess that’s what I can tell you. That’s an ongoing discussion process and ongoing drafting process. That continues.
MR ZIMMER: Any final questions? Okay.
QUESTION: I am Grigory Dubovitskiy, Russian news agency RIA Novosti. Are you aware of any plans, maybe possible, to discuss any questions with Russian delegation on the sidelines while SOM meet, maybe you aware of what level it could be?
MR MATTHEWS: I don’t know about – and I can say to you that I meet with the Russian delegation for the senior officials level on a regular basis and at every SOM basically – and my predecessors did. So those discussions continue because we have points of discussion that need close communication on a regular basis. And my team that does APEC issues is, of course, working with our counterparts in the Russian delegation to APEC. As for more senior-level meeting schedules, I don’t have the specifics for you on that.
MR ZIMMER: One here, and then a final couple in the back.
QUESTION: Two quick follow-up questions. Alexander Panetta, again, from the Canadian Press. Can you give an example or two of some of the environmental goods and services you’re talking about, and what a change in tariffs might mean or an elimination of tariffs might mean in terms of their proliferation? That’s the first follow-up.
And the second thing I wanted to ask was, if I understand correctly, that you don’t know yet whether there might be a meeting with the new Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada?
MR MATTHEWS: Well, I’d refer you to the White House on their scheduling of bilateral meetings for the President during the period of the leaders’ meeting.
As for your other question on environmental goods and services, well some obvious ones that come to mind that are covered are wind turbines and solar panels – things that you’d say just – inherently you’d say anybody who wants to operate more greenly and wants to generate green power will want to make sure we can get those products to every market in APEC with the lowest tariff possible, if not zero tariff, so that a greater number of firms and a greater number of households can actually adopt the use of those technologies to reduce their energy intake and their carbon footprint.
MR ZIMMER: Okay. Maybe one more after this one.
QUESTION: All right, thank you. Rob Gentry with TV Asahi. I had a follow-up on your question about – on your point about reducing tariffs for health care products. Is it tariffs or is it also non-tariff barriers that you’re interested in on that?
And then as a general question for the leaders’ meeting, what does the U.S. hope to have in terms of discussion on currency in the region, in terms of its effect on trade? Thanks.
MR MATTHEWS: So for healthcare products let me just be clear, we’re in very early stages of discussions on health care products. Really what we’re doing at this current stage in APEC is agreeing to kind of identify barriers. But one other thing that I’d like mention to you that we’re doing with regard to healthcare products in APEC is having private sector and governmental cooperation on helping to identify substandard health care products that can enter the market or even fraudulent ones, and then making sure each economy has effective means of taking those substandard products out of the pharmaceutical system to make sure we’re not delivering products which don’t help improve the health outcomes for our citizens. But so we’re really at an early stage on that healthcare initiative, and we’re not to the point of, I think, identifying tariffs or talking about tariff reductions but just basically doing a study of the overall picture on barriers.
And I’m sorry, what was your other question?
MR MATTHEWS: Currency. I can’t give you anything on that. I don’t know that there’s – yeah, I just don’t have an answer for you on that one.
MR ZIMMER: Do we have a final question? Over here, one more. Last question, please.
QUESTION: Sorry, it’s still a follow-up to the TPP. I just wondered, is that like the similar, that during the APEC the discussion group will have a meeting and any country who would like to join the TPP, that they will have the chance to talking about that? It’s something like that? Thank you.
MR MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, thanks for that question. I don’t believe it’s envisioned right now. Remember, every economy that’s in the Trans-Pacific Partnership at present is focused on one thing. It’s getting from the conclusion of the negotiation to ratification within their own system, and that’s precisely where the United States is. So our focus is completely dedicated to preparing everything we need to do to get ratification by the U.S. Congress. And until we get that done, we’re not really going to be focusing on other economies.
We welcome the interest of other economies in APEC who are interested in TPP, but we just have to tell folks, please understand our focus right now is getting to ratification.
MR ZIMMER: Okay, we appreciate Mr. Matthews joining us this morning out of his busy schedule. We appreciate your joining us. We’ll see you next time. Thank you.
# # #
We have some bad news.
For years, Ryan has fought to undermine our campaign finance laws. With him as Speaker, the GOP will be in a stronger position than ever to use dark money to influence elections.
The press…Ryan…everyone. They’re all watching to see how we respond. To show our strength, we’ve set an aggressive October goal: $1,OOO,OOO raised from grassroots donors.
Paul Ryan has sought to flood American elections with undisclosed dark money throughout his entire career:
We can’t stand idly by. We have to show Paul Ryan the American public won’t let him chip away at our election laws.
Thanks for standing up for what’s right,
END BODY START SPACING
PIXEL END PIXEL
END SPACING START FOOTER
START PAID FOR BY BOX
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Secretary of State John Kerry Secretary of State John Kerry
And UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg
At Our Cities, Our Climate: A Bloomberg Philanthropies-U.S. Department of State Partnership Working Luncheon
October 8, 2015
ASSISTANT SECRETARY RYAN: Thank you. It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the State Department today in honor of Our Cities, Our Climate – an initiative between the State Department and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
We are here to recognize and honor global city leadership on a topic of great importance – climate change. At the State Department, this is at the top of our agenda, and we are thrilled to partner with Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, who share these goals and have consistently been on the vanguard of this issue.
At the center of the State Department’s public diplomacy is the mission to connect the United States with the world to foster creative and powerful networks of citizens around the world to build common understanding. As we look to climate change and the significant steps needed to address this challenge, the opportunity to bring a global cohort to the United States to discuss these issues was invaluable.
It is an honor to have mayors from the United States and around the world with us here today. Will all the mayors in the room please stand to be recognized? (Applause.) You are all champions of climate action. Thank you for your critical work. We are also pleased to have 19 sustainability directors from 18 countries that have just traveled on an exchange program to San Francisco, Boston, and now Washington, D.C. The sustainability directors had the opportunity to see some of the best innovation in the United States and discuss how U.S. cities are overcoming hurdles to address significant problems that contribute to environmental damage.
Bringing mayors and city leaders together, our goal is to showcase the ways in which national governments, corporations, and cities around the world can and are working together to make an impact.
Thank you all for joining us. It is my honor to introduce our two keynote speakers, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Michael Bloomberg. As UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, Michael Bloomberg has been a leading voice on the value of cities in executing cutting-edge changes that improve everyday lives and our environment. His immense expertise, vision, and passion have put city leadership at the forefront of innovation. We are grateful for his partnership on this initiative.
At the State Department, we are proud to have Secretary Kerry as our champion on climate change issues. Secretary Kerry has elevated this critical issue. He has made climate change a critical part of U.S. foreign policy and a key component of our bilateral relationships around the world. His level of engagement on this issue is unprecedented at the State Department. And it’s not a new issue for him. He brings with him an almost 30-year commitment to fighting climate change. He has been focused on this issue since it first became a public issue and was involved in convening some of the first hearings on climate change in the Senate.
He was present at the first UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change in Rio in 1992, and has been at nearly every major gathering on climate change that has taken place since. He’s on the frontlines and his leadership in this battle is the inspiration for this program, Our Cities, Our Climate. We are so honored to have him here with us today. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Secretary of State John Kerry. (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Evan, thank you very, very much. Welcome, everybody, to the Ben Franklin Room. Welcome to the State Department. Distinguished colleagues and members of the diplomatic corps, partners in the U.S. Congress, mayors especially, we are really thrilled to have you here today. International U.S. mayors, we’re really grateful for your leadership. All the sustainability directors, thank you for being here, and other officials who are working hard to fight the effects of climate change around the world and also to address the challenge of climate change.
I particularly want to thank the fellow standing behind me to my right – your left. He is passionate about this issue. He has been for a long period of time. And when he had the privilege of being the mayor of New York City, one of the great cities of the world, obviously, he took steps – creative and imaginative, important steps – to address this issue, and is continuing on now as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and Cities. And I want you all to join me not only in saying thank you but welcoming Mike Bloomberg here to the State Department. (Applause.)
When he was mayor, he implemented policies that helped to cut New York’s emissions by 20 percent. And he understands that climate change is a policy challenge, really in many ways unlike many or any that we have faced before as either individual cities or as a community of nations. And he has long approached the global challenge with the sense of urgency for the responsibility that it demands from all of us. And I am very grateful to him for his partnership in this endeavor.
Decades ago, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously referred to our states as “laboratories of democracy.” Today, more and more of our cities are becoming “laboratories of leadership.” Most city governments are smaller; they’re more nimble than their federal counterparts. So city leaders are, frankly, uniquely positioned to experiment with bold new ideas in all kinds of policy areas.
And at the State Department, we understand the very valuable role that cities can play in addressing a wide range of challenges. And that is why we’re working directly with cities like Detroit, which is opening up its first-ever Mayor’s Office of International Affairs. And it’s why this week we are launching a long-term Cities@State initiative to enhance our coordination with cities in the space where foreign policy and urbanization meet on issues ranging from economic opportunity to security.
But cities have a particularly critical role to play when it comes to climate change. And I have said many times as Secretary, beginning with the day of my nomination and into my confirmation hearings, that foreign policy is economic policy and economic policy is foreign policy. And in today’s world, climate change is economic policy – energy policy above all. And it presents us with the most extraordinary market we have ever known on the face of this planet to be able to grow jobs, modernize our societies and our opportunities, and just embrace this challenge in a way that actually solves the problem while being – doing good at the same time.
And the reason for that is simple: Cities are obviously on the front line of the storm that is coming at us. Consider that already – for the first time in history – more people are living in urban areas than are living in rural areas. By 2050, a full two-thirds of the world’s population is going to live in cities, and that is a steadily growing population.
Now, consider that nine in ten major cities are situated along inland or coastal waterways, making them particularly vulnerable to climate-driven sea level rise and violent storm surges.
And just last week, I saw a study projecting that by the end of this century what we used to consider the kind of flood that would hit New York City once every 500 years could now be expected every 25 years. And for New Yorkers like Mike, who remember well what Hurricane Sandy did to that city, that prospect is obviously devastating.
Just a small factoid but not an unimportant one: If you’re 29 years old in America today, you have never lived with a month that was cooler than the average of all the months of the century preceding. That’s what’s happening. Every year we hear that that year was hotter than the year preceding, and we see the effects. And the bad news is that cities will be particularly hit if we don’t take meaningful action to fight climate change. The good news is – and there is good news – that the steps that cities themselves take in the coming years can actually tip the scale toward a successful global response to this challenge.
And here is why. The answer to climate change is not a mystery. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky policy that we haven’t discovered yet. It is staring us in the face, folks. It’s called clean energy. It is that simple. And we’re simply not going to get where we need to be unless we move rapidly towards a global, low-carbon, clean energy economy.
And today, the world’s cities account for more than two-thirds of all global energy use. That’s one of the reasons why cities are important. Cities are responsible for 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And if we change the way we power our cities, then we will change the way we power our world and, in the process, we may well save it.
The United States and China – two of the world’s largest emitters, number one and number two – we used to be number one; now we’re number two. China has surpassed us. And we fully understand this, which is why, in the early days of my stewardship here at the Department, I went to China and we began the process of changing our relationship, and President Obama ultimately was able to negotiate an agreement with China geared specifically to bring the less developed world to the table. And that’s what we’re doing, so that we hopefully head into Paris in December able to achieve a global agreement that can help to send a signal to the marketplace that the world is serious.
That’s also why we came together for the inaugural U.S.-China Climate Leaders’ Summit in Los Angeles last month. More than two dozen cities, states, provinces, and counties from our two nations signed the U.S-China Climate Leaders Declaration. And the signatories committed themselves to establish ambitious targets to cut emissions, and also to establish climate action plans so that we could report regularly on the progress that we’re making.
And that event showed how influential change that originates at the local level can be. Consider that the emissions coming from the Chinese cities and provinces represented in Los Angeles are roughly equal to those coming from the entire nation of Brazil.
But it’s not only U.S. and Chinese cities that are taking important steps to reduce their carbon footprints. Cities in every corner of the globe – including many represented here in this room – are doing the same.
In fact, more than 100 cities globally – more than 50 here in the United States – have signed the Compact of Mayors, which Mike helped launch in an effort to galvanize clear commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
Now folks, I’ve served in elected office for a little more than 28 years – actually more than 30 years if I include the lieutenant governor period. And I saw a lot of choices – and I know Mike feels the same way about this – that we have to make in public life. You’re lucky if you get a one-for-one, make a hard choice and you get a really good payback for that one hard choice.
Climate change, the math is so simple. On one side, you’ve got the cost of the initial investments, which is relatively small. And on the other, you have the cost of not doing anything, not acting to reduce carbon, costs which include agricultural and environmental degradation, remediation, which would cost hundreds of billions of dollars; damage to public health, people who die and go to the hospital, kids – largest cause of children hospitalized in the summer in the United States of America, environmentally induced asthma, costs us billions, tens of billions – damage to communities from record storms and flooding; and ultimately an enormous drop in the value of coastal real estate and businesses. That’s just one part of the ledger. That doesn’t even start to account for the cost of the disease, the cost of jobs, all the other things.
So compare those downsides to the upsides that come with this decision – living up to your environmental responsibility; creating, literally over the period of time, with $17 trillion currently geared to go into investment in energy, millions of jobs, tens of millions of jobs. Huge wealth can be created, even as you make people healthier, reduce the sickness that comes from particulates in the air and the cancer that comes with it. Run the list, folks. This is a pretty easy balance sheet to come out on.
More and more city leaders are coming to that conclusion. And that’s why Jakarta just launched the first Bus Rapid Transit system in Southern and Southeastern Asia. It’s already helping to reduce congestion on the roads and pollution in the air. It’s why Berlin created a campaign to plant 10,000 new trees along the streets by 2017. It’s why Buenos Aires launched Argentina’s first bike-sharing program. And it’s why Vancouver set a goal of obtaining 100 percent – 100 percent – of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
The fact is that some of the most promising, innovative, effective climate solutions are coming directly from mayors around the world and around the United States.
Now, obviously, no two cities are alike. But many have the same goals and they face the same challenges when it comes to de-carbonizing their local economies, and that’s why the State Department and Bloomberg Philanthropies created the Our Cities, Our Climate Exchange for city officials across the globe: because we want to create a platform for urban leaders to share their individual successes and to exchange ideas about those future projects that can make a difference.
Sustainability directors from 19 different cities have spent the past 10 days discussing ways to transport people using less fuel, keep people warm using less oil, recycle materials with less waste, and much more. And if you ask any of the participants, I expect that they will tell you they did not come here to talk about theoretical solutions. They came here to be practical and to find practical actions that they can take. And all of this matters because the actions that leaders are taking at the local level will send a timely message at the global level.
Now, I am not here to tell you that a global climate agreement is going to be the silver bullet that eliminates the threat that is currently posed by climate change. What we accomplish in Paris is not going to get the total job done, it is going to set the stage and be a major jump-off point for which the marketplace can begin and the private sector can begin to take a cue from all of these governments setting their targets.
The kind of agreement that we’re working toward will prove that world leaders finally understand and accept responsibility for the scope of this problem.
It will give confidence to business leaders who are uncertain about our collective commitment and hesitant to invest in low-carbon alternatives that we need because of that perceived hesitancy by governments.
It will help leaders at every level of government on the globe to know that they’re part of a worldwide commitment to build sustainable communities.
So please tell everyone – the business community, the public, your partners in government – tell them all how critical it is that the world come together in Paris and have an agreement. Failure is not an option.
This is a time of extraordinary urgency, incredible possibility, and together we have the rarest of opportunities to change – to change not only our cities and our countries, but the entire world, all of which bears responsibility.
I think the Holy Father in his visit here could not have made it more clear to us in poignant and meaningful ways that perhaps no politician has the ability to begin to touch why this is so important and how we all bear personal responsibility to help deal with it. So I look forward to working with all of you to help get the job done, and there could not be a stronger, better, more committed partner – a more courageous person who’s willing to act on what he believes no matter what brickbats come his way – please welcome with me, if you will, the former mayor of New York and the current special envoy, Mike Bloomberg. (Applause.)
MR BLOOMBERG: The height doesn’t quite work for me, John. Sorry about that. (Laughter.) Tall people, I’ve pointed out to John before, have a real —
SECRETARY KERRY: Doesn’t always work for me, either.
MR BLOOMBERG: No, no, no. They have a distinct advantage. They know when it rains – starts and stops raining quicker than the rest of us, but short of that – anyway, Secretary Kerry, John, I just wanted to thank you for that kind introduction and thank you for hosting us today, and seriously, thank you and the President for your strong leadership on climate change. Everybody expects you to come up with a solution overnight that will be painless and cost-free. You haven’t done that, but you certainly have moved the goalposts, and we appreciate everything you’ve done. And it’s up to the rest of us to continue the battle – a battle that we absolutely have to win.
America is best when she leads from the front, and I think you and the President deserve enormous credit for bringing the full forces of American diplomacy – American diplomatic might to bear on the challenge. And I also want to thank you for recognizing a fundamental truth that was overlooked for too long: We cannot address climate change effectively without putting cities at the center of the agenda. Now, the fact is cities account for more than 70 percent of global greenhouse gases. People are always talking about getting to the root of the problems, and in this case, it’s not complicated. Cities are the root of this problem.
But cities are also the source of the solution. And now, thanks to Secretary Kerry and other leaders, the voices of cities are being heard.
When the United Nations Climate Summit convenes in Paris in two months, there’s going to be a different dynamic than there was at past conferences in previous decades. Those conferences failed to produce a truly global agreement. But since then, cities have stepped onto the stage and, without a lot of fanfare, they’ve become – begun forming their own global alliances. They’ve acted because the stakes are very high, higher than they are for national leaders, and the incentives are also stronger.
And let me briefly explain what I mean by that. When a hurricane fueled by warmer oceans and rising sea levels and destroys homes and businesses, people turn to their local leaders for help and answers. When air pollution sends children to the hospital, as John pointed out, with asthma attacks, parents don’t turn to the members of Congress; they demand that the mayors do something about it.
Around the world, national legislators tend to see climate change as an abstraction and a long-term policy issue. Mayors see it as an immediate economic and health issue. People’s lives and people’s livelihoods are at stake. This is a public health and environmental issue. If you want to worry about 2050, I think you should, but if you really want to go home and look your family in the eye and say I did something today so that you, my kids, my spouse, my companion are going to have a longer, healthier life, that’s where you really have to focus – doing things that improve the climate right now.
Keep in mind, when a city has cleaner air more people want to live there and more companies want to do business there. And that’s why, surprisingly, Beijing is shutting its four biggest coal-burning power plants. And they’ve also put a smoking ban in Beijing and, I might point out, the Chinese Government owns the cigarette companies and yet they’ve done this. Why? Because the people of Beijing and the people of China, just like the people of Washington, D.C. and all the cities in America, want to be able to live longer, healthier lives.
Now, climate – carbon pollution carries a heavy economic cost that cities bear the brunt of, so attacking climate change and promoting economic growth really do go hand-in-hand. Mayors understand that and they have the political incentives to act. Global challenges used to be the exclusive domain of heads of state, but this challenge is different. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that climate change may now be the first global problem where success will depend on how local services are delivered, such as energy, transportation, and waste disposal.
Just by acting on their own, cities can singlehandedly reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by four gigatons over the next 15 years. That’s like eliminating a quarter of all of the coal pollution that exists in the whole world today. And the good news is mayors are eager to take this challenge on. They’re not dragging their feet or debating the science; they’re rolling up their sleeves and they’re working together to spread the most effective solutions. Why? Because when the mayors talk to their constituents, the constituents, unlike what you read in the paper from members of Congress or anybody else – the constituents of all of the mayors in this city know that something is happening, they’re scared, and they want a fix.
I would suggest if you go to North or South Carolina right now, you probably won’t find very many people who say climate change isn’t real. Now, all of a sudden, the debate has changed – well, it’s not manmade. I don’t know if it’s manmade or not; science can only speculate. But the bottom line is no rational person should sit there with a risk that’s so serious that it literally is life-threatening and not try to do something to ameliorate that risk and prevent problems down the road.
And that’s why we’re here today. It’s great to have so many mayors and city officials joining us. I know that many of you have spent the last week crisscrossing the country as guests of the International Visitor Leadership Program. And I’ve seen firsthand what works when one city usually holds valuable lessons for many others. Each city has its own unique culture and its own unique needs. But the principal nuts and bolts of mass transit, parks, sanitation, and the power grid tend to be pretty similar. So the more we help mayors and city officials innovate and collaborate, the more progress we can all make.
And I might point out that pollution that comes from one place hurts everybody. It doesn’t matter where you make the efficiencies, where you make the improvements – we all benefit. And the contrary is also true – if anybody else pollutes, we all suffer.
And that’s the purpose of the new partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the State Department. It will build on the work that our foundation has been supporting for years. Some of that work has been through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, which now has more than 80 members, and some of it has been through the Compact of Mayors, which commits cities to publicly detail their goals and using a common yardstick for measuring their performance, which allows the public to hold them accountable. Mayors are always held accountable by the press and by the voters. What mayors do you can measure, whether they do it or they didn’t do it. And the voters, when they get to the polls, reward or punish those that don’t do the right thing.
Two hundred cities have now signed onto the compact, and we’re happy that the White House is pushing for a hundred more U.S. cities to join by the end of this year. This new partnership with the State Department will complement the work and help spread it around the world. Our Cities, Our Climate Initiative will connect mayors and policyholders all around the world. It will recruit international sustainability experts and NGOs to help cities share best practices, coordinate their efforts, and implement the most effective climate actions.
Cities are anxious to lead, and more – the more they learn from one another and they borrow from one another, the more progress the world can make on climate change. So as you have explored Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, I hope you’ve been taking good notes and keeping an eye out for ideas you can borrow and improve on. And having the State Department enlisted in that work is going to make a very big difference, and we’re grateful to Secretary Kerry for making this partnership possible and for making this issue such an important priority.
One of the benefits of this work is that it also helps to embolden national leaders to make more ambitious commitments by providing them – by proving to them just how much progress is possible. In Kyoto back in 1997 and Copenhagen in 2009, national governments didn’t have a good sense of that, and they certainly didn’t have any data on it. Now they do. Now they know just how quickly cities are moving. And when they sit down this year in Paris this December, they will have something else that they didn’t have before: They will have a model for action. The cooperative networks that cities have created and the commitments that they have made and the reporting systems that they have agreed to provide a template for an international agreement. Cities are proving that this model can work, and that’s why all of us have good reason to be more hopeful about this summit than the previous one.
Now, of course, cities can’t do it alone. National leadership remains essential, and I applaud the Obama Administration for its clean power plan and also for its new rules on methane. Cities will never fully displace nations in the global fight against climate change any more than they can singlehandedly reduce global poverty or expand global trade or improve global security. But cities can be full and equal partners in all of this work, and I think Secretary Kerry will attest heads of state will be happy for the help – and they’re going to need it.
So let me once again thank Secretary Kerry. You have been right, John, declaring that addressing climate change is only possible with a strategy that, as you said, transcends borders, sectors, and the levels of government. Today’s gathering proves this effort is already well underway, and I want to thank each of you in this room for that important role that you’re playing.
And as part of this work, I also want to invite you to join us in Paris in December. We’re not going to have a unified solution to all the world’s problems, and certainly not to climate change. But it is a report card, it is a step, and it’s an impetus to national and local governments to understand that the public wants to lead longer, healthier lives and that we are the ones responsible for doing that. We’ll be co-hosting a cities summit with the mayor of Paris on December 4th, and the more cities that attend, the more our voices will be heard. So I hope to see many of you again in Paris.
We all have to keep up the good work. This is the future of our families, this is the future of our countries, this is the future of the planet. Nobody knows how much and how fast things are happening, but just let me point out 2014 was the warmest year in the history of the world. The first half of 2015 was the warmest six months in the history of the world. The month of July 2015 was the warmest month in the history of the world that we can measure. If you take a look in the oceans, half of all the fish species have had their populations decline by 50 percent in the last – since 20 – since 1970. Something is going on out there, and sitting around and arguing about who’s responsible and whether it’s this or whether it’s that is just an outrage. We should do everything we can, and let’s hope that it’s just a short-term phenomenon, but none of us should run the risk that it’s not.
Thank you very much, and John, thank you. (Applause.)
# # #
 Misspoken program name corrected here.
 More than 200 cities have signed the Compact of Mayors.