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Viola Davis introduces Meryl Streep Lifetime Achievement Award

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYTmZHfoqYI

“You’ll have to forgive me, I’ve lost my voice in screaming in lamentation this weekend, and I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read.

“Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said, you and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.

“But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates?

“And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London — no, Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out we’ll have nothing to watch except football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

“They gave me three seconds to say this. So an actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head. Because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.

“And this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

“Okay, this brings me to the press. We need a principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press, and all of us in our community, to join me in supporting the Committee to protect journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

“One more thing: Once when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something, you know, we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever. Tommy Lee Jones said to me, ‘Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?’ Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.

“As my friend the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, ‘Take your broken heart. Make it into art.’ Thank you.”

「今私は声が出なくなっています。お許しください。今週、悲しみで悲鳴を上げて声が枯れてしまいました。少し前には、気が動転したこともありました。だから、みなさんへのメッセージを読み上げます。

(ゴールデングローブ賞の受賞者を選定している)ハリウッド外国人映画記者協会の方々に感謝します。ヒュー・ローリーも言っていましたが、この部屋の私たち全員が、今アメリカ社会で最もけなされている部類に属している人間であることがわかります。ハリウッド、外国人、そして報道陣、です。

私たちは誰なのでしょう?ハリウッドとは何なのでしょう?ハリウッドは、あらゆるところからやって来た人が、寄せ集まって出来ている場です。私はニュージャージーの公立学校で生まれ育ち、教育されました。

ヴィオラ・デイビスはサウスカロライナ州の農地の小屋で生まれ、ロードアイランドのセントラルフォールズで育ちました。サラ・ポールソンはフロリダ州で生まれ、ブルックリンでシングルマザーに育てられました。

サラ・ジェシカ・パーカーは、オハイオ州の7、8人のきょうだいの一人でした。エイミー・アダムスはイタリアのヴェネト州ヴィチェンツァで生まれ、ナタリーポートマンはエルサレムで生まれました。この人たちの出生証明書は、一体どこにあるのでしょうか?

そして美しいルース・ネッガは、エチオピアのアディス・アベバで生まれ、ロンドンで育ちました。いえ、ロンドンではなく、アイルランドだったはずです。ルースはバージニア州の小さな町の女性の演技を評価され、ノミネートされました。

ライアン・ゴスリングはカナダ人です。そしてデーヴ・パテールは、ケニアで生まれロンドンで育ちました。デーヴは、タスマニア育ちのインド人の役を演じました。ハリウッドはよそ者や外国人だらけです。私たちが彼らを全員排除したら、アメフトやマーシャル・アーツしか観るものがなくなってしまいます。それらは芸術ではありません。

あまり時間をもらっていないので、続けます。俳優の仕事は、自分とは異なる人の人生を演じることです。そして、その人たちの人生がどういうものなのか、観客に感じさせることです。今年私は、まさにそのことを成し遂げた、数多くの力強い演技を目にしました。息を呑むほど、思いやりのある仕事です。

でも、今年、私を驚かせた演技がひとつありました。私はそれを目にして、衝撃を受けました。感激したからではありません。そのパフォーマンスには良いところはありませんでした。しかし効果的であり、果たすべき役割を果たしました。それは、それを期待していた聴衆を笑わせました。

私たちの国で、最も尊敬されている場所に立とうとしている人が、特権、権力、そして反撃する能力において、自分のほうがはるかに上回っているにも関わらず、体の不自由な記者の真似をしたのです。

私はそれを見たとき、 胸が張り裂けそうでした。私はまだ、自分の頭の中からそのときの記憶を消し去ることができません。なぜならそれは、映画の中の出来事ではなく、現実の出来事だったからです。

誰かに屈辱的なことをする。公の場で権力を持っている人がそのような行為をした時、他のすべての人生に影響してきます。他の人たちも同じような行動をとっても良いと、許可を与えることになるからです。

無礼は無礼を招く。暴力は暴力を呼び起こす。権力者が、その地位を利用していじめをすると、私たち全員が負けることになります。

ここで、報道陣の話をさせてください。 私たちには、怒りで声をあげなくてはならない事態が起きた時に、信念のある報道陣がしっかりと声をあげてくれることが必要なのです。

だからこそ、私たちの国、アメリカを建国した人たちは、憲法の中で、報道とその自由を守ることを決めたのです。だから私は、裕福なことで有名なハリウッド外国人映画記者協会と映画業界のみなさんに、ジャーナリスト保護委員会への支援を呼びかけたいのです。真実を守りながら前に進んでいくために彼らの力が必要だからです。

最後にもう一つ言わせてください。ある日、私が撮影のセットにいた時、愚痴を言っていました。撮影が長時間に渡って、夕食の時間まで続いたりしていた時です。一緒にいたトミー・リー・ジョーンズは、「メリル、俳優をやれているのはそれだけで名誉なことだよね」と言いました。

その通りです。私たちは、自分に与えられた名誉や特権、責任、他者に共感する気持ちを忘れてはいけないのです。私たちは、ハリウッドが今夜この場で褒め称えている仕事のすべてを、誇りに思うべきです。

私の友人だったレイア姫ことキャリー・フィッシャーが、生前こういうことを言っていました。「あなたの傷ついた心を、どうか芸術に昇華して」。みなさん、どうもありがとう

https://www.buzzfeed.com/claudiakoerner/heres-meryl-streeps-speech-about-trump-and-hollywood-at-the?utm_term=.dpW4vlAJyJ#.ue3MQyJg4g

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Press Conference by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at United Nations Headquarters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p6jzB2CAaE&t=46s

 

Following is a transcript of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s press conference, held in New York today:

It is a great pleasure to see you this morning.  Usually we gather at this time around this year but now we meet at the end of my term.  Believe it or not, I will miss these exchanges.  We have spent much time together in this room, in the halls of this building and around the world over the last 10 years.  You are part of the UN family.  And I thank you for your strong commitment and working together, working for the United Nations.

More than that, you have an important job to do — informing the world about our work — when we make progress and when we fall short.  I deeply believe in your mission.  I have been saying that you are connecting the world, connector between the United Nations and the people of the world.  And at a time when Governments across the world are harassing journalists and cracking down on press freedom, I have worked hard to be your ally and defender.  The fight for freedom of the press is everybody’s fight.

I will be brief today to allow maximum time for questions.  Let me make just three points.  First, the carnage in Syria remains a gaping hole in the global conscience.  Aleppo is now a synonym for hell.  As I told the Security Council three days ago, we have collectively failed the people of Syria.  Peace will only prevail when it is accompanied by compassion, justice and accountability for the abominable crimes we have seen.

Second, I am closely following the deteriorating situation in South Sudan.  This week marks the third anniversary of the fighting.  The country’s leaders have betrayed their people’s trust, and squandered a peace agreement.  Tens of thousands lie dead.  Most immediately, my Special Adviser Mr. Adama Dieng, has warned of the risk of genocide.  We continue to push for access for lifesaving relief.  And I urge the Security Council to take more concerted action, including through punitive measures.

Third, we will continue to support the global momentum behind the Paris Agreement on climate change.  Climate action means jobs, growth, cleaner air and better health.  Leaders from across the globe and on every front understand this — from Fortune 500 CEOs to Governors and Mayors.  The Paris Agreement on climate change is a precious achievement that we must support and nurture.  There is no turning back.  I will undertake one last trip during my final days in office — to speak at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

One can draw a straight line from the principles that President Lincoln defended to those that represent the best spirit of the United States and that animate the United Nations.  Lincoln was a heroic force for equality, integration and reconciliation; and desperately, we need that spirit today.  This has been a decade of unceasing test.  But, I have also seen collective action change millions of lives for the better.

Difficult as it may sometimes be, international cooperation remains the path to a more peaceful and prosperous world.  I will continue to spare no effort to appeal to world leaders, long-standing or newly minted, to recognize and embrace that preeminent twenty-first-century fact.

Finally, I wish to express my appreciation to our host country and host city.  Yesterday in Washington, D.C., I thanked President [Barack] Obama, Vice-President [Joseph] Biden and National Security Adviser [Susan] Rice for their strong support over the years.  We all stressed the centrality of close, productive ties between the United States and the United Nations.

I have also recently met with Mayor [Bill] de Blasio of New York and Governor [Chris] Christie of New Jersey, and will speak soon to Governor [Andrew] Cuomo of New York.  The United Nations continues to draw strength from its home here in the New York metropolitan area.

Thank you again for your friendship over the past decade.  And I wish you continued good success, and work and engage more closely with the UN, so that you will always deliver and connect the world with the United Nations. And thank you very much.  Now, let me say one last thing, I am happy to take your questions. Thank you.

**Questions and Answers

Spokesman:  Giampaolo?

Question:  Mr. Secretary-General, on behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association, thank you again for the last press conference.  But, thank you, also, for your cooperation and friendship of this decade with us.  We really appreciate that.  And, also, thank you for your battle for freedom of the press.  My last question to you is a simple one.  My colleague will ask tough question.  I have a soft one.  In two weeks, you will face two options:  Relax and retire, or run for President of [the Republic of Korea].  Because this is your last question, we would like to know which one of these options you will choose, and you have to give us a real clear answer now.  Thank you.

Secretary-General:  The first part of your question, of course, I will take some more days to take rest.  As you know, during the last 10 years, frankly speaking, I have not been able to take any proper vacations and rest.  It's been quite [a] tough 10 years.  But, I have been working just to make sure that the United Nations is there when people need me and the United Nations.  For the second part of the question, I have been repeatedly saying that I am still the Secretary-General.  I still have 15 days to go.  So let’s see, after 15 days, when 1 January 2017 comes, then as I said, I'll take some rest, and then I'll go back to [the Republic of] Korea.  Then, I'll try to meet as many people as possible, which may include political leaders and leaders of the community, societies and my friends.  I will really consider seriously how best and what I should and I could do for my country, [the Republic of] Korea.

As you know, the situation is very, very difficult, in a sense, in turmoil.  I can understand and share the anxiety of people about the future of their country, as this is one of the biggest challenges the Korean people are encountering.  I know that they don't want to lose the hard-earned democracy and the economic development which, in fact, transformed [the Republic of] Korea from a recipient country to a global donor.  That is one pride that the Korean people have.  Koreans have been known as example to other nations in that regard.  And I also understand the aspiration of people for a new type of inclusive leadership that can help them overcome the challenges ahead.

And there are many issues of how to reconcile the differences between their thinking, and differences of their income, and some regionalism.  There are many, many issues which we have to think about.  That means social integration, reconciliation and much more mature democratic institutions.  At the same time, while all these seem to present great challenges for Koreans and the Korean Government, I'm confident that the Korean people, with their resilience and very mature democratic institutions, I'm sure that they will be able to overcome these difficulties soon.  Thank you.

Spokesman:  Thank you.  Edie?

Question:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary-General.  Um, you… you mentioned Aleppo.  I wondered if you could elaborate a little and tell us what your expectations are, since there seems to be some holdup in the evacuations today, and whether the UN has been involved in trying to promote this.  But, that was a follow-up.  My real question was you've talked about unfinished business.  And you've mentioned Syria.  And today you've mentioned South Sudan.  What other unfinished business do you think should be at the top of the agenda of your successor, Mr. Guterres? 

Secretary-General:  About this situation in Aleppo and the situation in Syria broadly, this has been really heart-breaking for me and for all the people who love peace and stability.  Syrian people have been really suffering too much, too long, the last five years — even soon six years, in March next year.  More specifically about the situation in Aleppo, in an operation that started yesterday and continued into the early morning today local time, thousands of people were able to leave Aleppo, including 194 patients who were evacuated with assistance of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, ICRC [International Community of the Red Cross] and the United Nations.  They were brought to hospitals in Idlib, western rural Aleppo and Turkey.  They were brought to hospitals nearby, with the support of humanitarian health partners in Gaziantep.

The evacuation of wounded and civilians from the besieged areas of Eastern Aleppo was unfortunately suspended today because of the Syrian authorities, earlier today.  I very much regret that we had to stop this operation at this time.  The United Nations is currently engaging and mobilizing all possible resources and manpower, engaging with and urging the parties to take all necessary measures to allow safe resumption of this evacuation process.  The UN and partners in Idlib have prepositioned the supplies which we can easily deliver to needy people.  And again, I can tell you that the United Nations stands ready full time to do whatever is needed to rescue as many people as possible.  But, as I told you, unfortunately, because of this fighting by Syrian armed groups, we have to stop this one.  Thank you.

About this unfinished business, that's hard to pinpoint.  There are many, many issues, unfortunately.  The tendency is that once the violence and conflict happen, they do not know the end.  It seems like that.  The Syrian crisis has been continuing for six years.  Now the situation in Yemen, and South Sudan, and Central African Republic, and Mali and elsewhere, all the fires are still burning.  The reason, clearly, is a lack of solidarity, global solidarity.  There are many people who believe that military solutions can address all these issues, but as I have been repeatedly saying, there is no such military solution.  Only inclusive political solutions can bring a sustainable solution of the issues.  I feel sorry that I have to leave so many unfulfilled issues to my successor and Member States, but at the end, at the end of our day, we have to also understand that we need to do much more with global solidarity and compassionate leadership.  That's what I'm urging the leaders to engage much, much more.  Thank you.

Spokesman:  Mr. Sato, NHK.

Question:  Thank you for giving me a chance to ask the Secretary-General.  My name is Sato from NHK.  My question is about the North-East Asian situation, because the Secretary-General is the first Secretary-General from East Asia, and also, the diplomat of [the Republic of Korea].  And looking back at these 10 years, DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] has been pursuing their nuclear ambition, and China has dramatically enhanced its power in international area.  In [the Republic of Korea] and Japan, the relation has been ups and down and still… still not stable.  So, what is your view on North-East Asian situation during your tenure and prospect and expectation for the future shape of this region?  Thank you.

Secretary-General:  People often have been saying that the twenty-first century would be an era of Asia Pacific.  Among Asia Pacific, North-East Asia has been regarded as powerful growth and dynamic growth economically, particularly, and socially.  That means China, Japan, [the Republic of] Korea and these are very important drivers and have been commended, even envied, by many people around the world, many countries around the world, for their dynamic growth.  Recently, I'm concerned that the relationship among and between the countries in North-East Asia, and also Asia broadly, have not been smooth.  In all of this, there is a very serious security concern caused by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; particularly, their continuing efforts to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies.  The Security Council has been seriously engaged to stem, to deter, this kind of North Korean activities.

The Security Council has met 10 times this year only.  It's very rare that the Security Council engages so frequently, so heavily, on any single subject.  They have taken already five sanction resolutions, including most recently, which was taken on 30 November.  All this kind of tensions on the Korean Peninsula also caused a lot of implications to the North-East Asian region.  And there have been some differences of opinions and positions, how to address all these security issues, particularly vis-à-vis North Korean nuclear issues between and among China, Japan, [the Republic of] Korea and the United States, and Russia.  All these countries surrounding North-East Asia have not been consistent in their positions.

I sincerely hope that with all these continuing security instabilities and the political disharmonies among these countries, the leaders of North-East Asia will continue to meet together and try to narrow down their differences of opinions and, particularly, in addressing North Korean nuclear issues.  I sincerely wish and strongly urge again the DPRK authorities to come to the international community and abide by all the international norms, including the Security Council resolutions — many resolutions.  Therefore, they can also be part of this society.  That's what I sincerely hope as Secretary-General.

Spokesman:  Joe Klein.

Question:  Thank you.  Joseph Klein of Canada Free Press.  And Mr. Secretary-General, whatever you decide to do, I wish you all of the best.  Given the prominence in the news lately of cyberattacks against political institutions and private enterprises, what concrete steps would you recommend that the United Nations take to galvanize Member States' support for an effective UN convention containing rules and norms to regulate cyberwarfare, akin to the Geneva Conventions, for example, and help build Member States' capacities to secure their critical infrastructures from cyberattacks?  Thank you.

Secretary-General:  We are enjoying all this dramatic transformative development of technologies, particularly these communication technologies.  At the same time, we are very much concerned about using this technology for rather negative purposes, cyberattacks.  This must be prevented in a concerted effort by the international community.  I sincerely hope that the United Nations' concerned department and agencies will look into this matter very seriously and try to have international conventions, so that we can prevent such kind of misuse of privilege of technologies, cyber technologies.  This is my sincere hope.  But as for the specific agency or department, I think we will have to discuss this matter with the General Assembly.

Spokesman:  Linda Fasulo.

Question:  Thank you, Steph.  Mr. Secretary-General, this is a question going back to Aleppo.  You've called Aleppo a synonym for hell.  We also know that South Sudan, you've said, is at the risk of genocide and there are UN troops there.  I was just wondering how you would assess the status of the concept of Responsibility to Protect?  Is it on life support?  Is it moving towards death?

 

Secretary-General:  In 2005, during a special summit meeting, world leaders have agreed and adopted a consensus document on the Responsibility to Protect.  As Secretary-General, even while I was campaigning, I was pledging to the Member States that I will try to translate this agreement into action and application to our daily life, addressing all these issues.  Unfortunately, Member States have shown some stepping back from their firm agreement on the Responsibility to Protect.  That is why the United Nations, the international community has not been able to fully and effectively address many conflict issues.  Particularly, we fully support the sovereignty issues.  Every country, small and big, has a sovereign right and sovereign integrity, but when it comes to a situation when the leaders are not willing or not able to defend their own people, then the international community should be able to intervene with the necessary resources.  That has been done at the time of resolving this Libyan crisis.

I regret very much that the Member States have not been giving full support and full engagement in implementing this very important Responsibility to Protect principle.  Again, this is one of the unfinished businesses.  We have a good framework, we have an agreement.  Then why we are not using these good tools?  These tools and principles should fully be used so that we can handle and address many conflict issues.  We fully support this sovereignty, but when the country simply is not able or not willing to — then the international community has a responsibility to protect those people.

Question:  Specifically, is there anything you would recommend for the international community to do at this point regarding Syria?

Secretary-General:  I have been appointing I think three of the world's best diplomats, including my predecessor Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi and Staffan de Mistura.  It's not an issue of negotiators and facilitators.  It's an issue of lack of solidarity, lack of compassion and people just sticking to very narrow personal or national interests.  That has been killing hundreds of thousands people now.  That we have to reject in the name of humanity.  How come this issue has been taking so long without being resolved?  And first of all, the Syrian people, they should be united.  Unfortunately, they have been divided completely.  The regional Powers, these Powers, they have been supporting both sides, the Government's side and the armed groups’ side.  The United Nations Security Council has been also divided.  There are divisions in three important areas and institutions.  That has provided a perfect storm for extremists, ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant], Da’esh, terrorists to take a firm root.  They're just taking a firm root among the people, just taking advantage of all the grievances of the people, the lack of good governance of the leaders.

Spokesman:  Thank you.  Fathi?

Question:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General.  Just before I start my question, it was a pleasure covering you in the United Nations over the past five years in New York and overseas.  Reflecting over your tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations for an entire decade, in hindsight, what was your top three moments of pride and your top three moments of regrets?  I understand there were ups and downs, as we have witnessed, but there must be some resonation with you personally.  Thank you.

Secretary-General:  Frankly speaking, it's not good timing for me to talk about what has been achieved or what have been good moments for me.  There are more on the regrettable side, frankly speaking, again.  But, since you have raised this issue, I believe that while we think that we are living in an era of turmoil and challenges, the world leaders have shown, at least, very important guidelines and visions by adopting the sustainable development goals, the 2030 Agenda, with the 17 goals, which cover all spectrums of our life as human beings and planet earth.  If we are able to implement and achieve these all 17 goals by 2030, I'm quite confident I will be very proud to say that we are living in a world much more prosperous, much more peaceful, and much healthier for people and the planet.  That's one thing.

Even though it's a part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the climate change has been negotiated in a separate track, in a different track, with the Sustainable Development Goals.  The agreement of peace — I mean the Paris Agreement, that has to be commended.  It has taken longer than 10 years.  When I took over as the Secretary-General in 2007, the negotiation was almost dormant.  It was not moving at all.  And I thought that my priority as Secretary-General should be on this climate change.  And I have been really mobilizing, first of all, the political will of the leaders and business communities, and I have been really asking the civil societies to raise their voices, to challenge the world leaders.  Now, with this Paris Agreement — once it was known as unthinkable; now, it is unstoppable.  Nobody can stop this one.  Nobody can stop this one.  It's now going on.  It's not only the Governments, but business communities and civil societies, they all demand it.  They know that without changing our course, our pattern of consumption and production, without going through climate resilient economy, decarbonizing, then our future will be tragic.  So, that is one thing which I have been able to awaken the awareness of people's minds.  That is one thing of which I am proud, but we'll have to go at least 85 years with our target until 2100.  But, I think we have a very good start.  When we implement this with force, then we can be proud.

Then another one, at least I have, again, tried to change the mentality of the male community, male society, that it's not only men.  Men should live together equally with women.  There's gender empowerment, gender parity.  There are more women living in this planet.  Then, if not more for women, at least equal rights should be given, politically, socially and economically.  And this is a fundamental principle of the human rights declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  And as a human being, I think we must adhere to this.  I have been trying to appoint many very capable women senior advisers.  And the number of women whom I have appointed during the last 10 years is much, much greater than the number of women appointed during my seven predecessors combined.  And I'm glad that my successor, he has committed in his oath-taking ceremony, that by the end of his term — I don't know when will be his end of term.  In at least 10 years, then this world will be 50/50.  But, in fact, by 2030, world leaders have already committed, by 2030 this world will be a 50/50 planet.  Thank you.

Spokesman:  Great.  Thank you very much

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First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks on The Power of Education
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY6h804boFs
https://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2013/11/12/first-lady-michelle-obama-speaks-power-education#transcript

Remarks by the First Lady at Education Event with DC High School Sophomores

Bell Multicultural High School,
Columbia Heights Education Campus
Washington, D.C.

11:24 A.M. EST
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Well, good morning.  How are you all doing?  You good? 
 
STUDENTS:  Yes.
 
MRS. OBAMA:  Let me tell you, I’m thrilled to be back here at the Columbia Heights Education Campus.  How many of you guys were here when the President and I were here the last time?  (Applause.)  Yes, show -- applause are good.  That will help me out.  That’s good. 

So you guys have made some good progress, and now we’re back because we are so proud of what you all have been doing here, and we thought that this was the best place to begin this conversation.   
 
So let me start by thanking Menbere for that very kind introduction.  She is a proud representative of what this school can do, and her story is one that we want you all to emulate. 
 
I also want to recognize Mayor Gray, as well as Kaya Henderson, the Chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools.  And of course, I want to recognize your principal, Principal Tukeva, and all of the faculty and staff here at Bell Multicultural High School.  Thank you for hosting us.

Of course, I want to thank Secretary Duncan for joining me today, as well as Jeff and Keshia and everyone from 106 & Park for helping to facilitate today’s discussion.  Let’s give them all a big round of applause.  (Applause.)   
 
But most of all, I want to recognize all of the young people who are here with us, the sophomores here at CHEC.  And I wanted to come here today because you guys and students like you across America are at the heart of one of my husband’s most important goals as President. 
 
See, when Barack came into office, one of the very first things he did was to set what he calls a North Star goal for the entire country -– that by the year 2020, the year that all of you will be graduating from college, that this country will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. 
 
Now, Barack set this goal because as a -- a generation ago, we were number one in college graduates.  But over the past couple of decades, this country has slipped all the way to 12th.  We’ve slipped.  And that’s unacceptable, and we’ve all got a lot of work to do to turn that around and get back on top.
 
But Barack didn’t just set that goal because it’s good for our country.  He did it because he knows how important higher education is to all of you as individuals.  Because when the year 2020 rolls around, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in this country are going to require some form of training beyond high school.  That means whether it’s a vocational program, community college, a four-year university, you all are going to need some form of higher education in order to build the kind of lives that you want for yourselves, good careers, to be able to provide for your family. 
 
And that’s why the President and Secretary Duncan have been doing everything they can to make sure that kids like you get the best education possible and that you have everything you need to continue your education after high school.  They’ve been fighting to strengthen your schools and to support your teachers.  They’ve been working hard to make college more affordable for all young people in this country no matter where you come from or how much money your parents have.  They’ve been working with parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders all across this country just to help you succeed.
 
But here’s the thing -- and I want you to listen to this -- at the end of the day, no matter what the President does, no matter what your teachers and principals do or whatever is going on in your home or in your neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you.  It’s that simple.  It is you, the student.  And more than anything else, meeting that 2020 goal is going to take young people like all of you across this country stepping up and taking control of your education. 
 
And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.  We’re going to talk about the power that each of you has to commit to your education.  We’re going to talk about the power that you have to fulfill your potential and unlock opportunities that you can’t even begin to imagine for yourselves right now.  And when I talk about students needing to take responsibility for their education, I want you all to know that I’m speaking from my own personal life experience. 
 
Like Menbere, growing up, I considered myself pretty lucky.  Even though my parents didn’t have a lot of money, they never went to college themselves, they had an unwavering belief in the power of education.  So they always pushed me and my brother to do whatever it took to succeed in school.  So when it came time for me to go to high school, they encouraged me to enroll in one of the best schools in Chicago.  It was a school a lot like this one. 
 
And listening to Menbere’s story, it was so similar, because my school was way across the other side of the city from where I lived.  So at 6:00 a.m. every morning, I had to get on a city bus and ride for an hour, sometimes more, just to get to school.  And I was willing to do that because I was willing to do whatever it took for me to go to college. 
 
I set my sights high.  I decided I was going to Princeton.  But I quickly realized that for me, a kid like me, getting into Princeton wasn’t just going to happen on its own.  See I went to a great school, but at my school we had so many kids, so few guidance counselors, they were dealing with hundreds of students so they didn’t always have much time to help me personally get my applications together.  Plus, I knew I couldn’t afford to go on a bunch of college visits.  I couldn't hire a personal tutor.  I couldn't enroll in SAT prep classes.  We didn't have the money. 
 
And then -- get this –- some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high.  They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton.  I still hear that doubt ringing in my head.  So it was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go.
 
Instead, it was going to be up to me to reach my goal.  I would have to chart my own course.  And I knew that the first thing I needed to do was have the strongest academic record possible. 
 
So I worked hard to get the best grades I could in all of my classes.  I got involved in leadership opportunities in school where I developed close relationships with some of my teachers and administrators.  I knew I needed to present very solid and thoughtful college applications, so I stayed up late, got up early in the morning to work on my essays and personal statements.  I knew my parents would not be able to pay for all of my tuition, so I made sure that I applied for financial aid on time.  That FAFSA form was my best friend.  I knew the deadlines, everything.
 
Most importantly, when I encountered doubters, when people told me I wasn’t going to cut it, I didn't let that stop me -- in fact, I did the opposite.  I used that negativity to fuel me, to keep me going.  And at the end, I got into Princeton, and that was one of the proudest days of my life. 
 
But getting into Princeton was only the beginning.  Graduating from Princeton was my ultimate goal.  So I had to start all over again, developing and executing a plan that would lead me to my goal.  And of course, I struggled a little bit.  I had to work hard, again, to find a base of friends and build a community of support for myself in this Ivy League University.
 
I remember as a freshman I mistakenly rolled into a class that was meant for juniors and seniors.  And there were times when I felt like I could barely keep my head above water.  But through it all, I kept that college diploma as my North Star.  And four years later, I reached that goal, and then I went on to build a life I never could have imagined for myself.
 
I went to law school, became a lawyer.  I’ve been a vice president for a hospital.  I’ve been the head of a nonprofit organization.  And I am here today because I want you to know that my story can be your story.  The details might be a little different, but let me tell you, so many of the challenges and the triumphs will be just the same.  
 
You might be dreaming of becoming a doctor or a teacher; maybe a mechanic or a software designer.  Or you might not know what you want to do right now –- and that’s fine.  But no matter what path you choose, no matter what dreams you have, you have got to do whatever it takes to continue your education after high school –- again, whether that’s going to community college, getting a technical certificate, or completing a training opportunity, or going off to a four-year college.
 
And once you’ve completed your education, you will have the foundation you need to build a successful life.  That’s how me, that’s how Menbere, that’s how so many other students have overcome adversities  to reach our goals.
 
There’s another young man, Roger Sanchez.  He is another example of a CHEC alum who is working toward his North Star goal. 
 
In fifth grade, Roger came to the United States from the Dominican Republic to live with his mother.  When Roger arrived in America, he could barely speak a word of English.  He often couldn’t understand anything his teachers were saying, so he decided to put a piece of paper in his pocket so he could jot down all the new words he heard, and then he’d ask his friends and teachers to translate for him. 
 
He went to the library and poured through books and videos and cassettes to help teach himself English.  And after all those hours of studying and practicing, Roger arrived here at Bell ready to thrive.  And every day, he put the same effort into his classes that he put into learning English.  He joined the baseball, the football teams.  He helped found your Global Kids Club so that students could discuss world issues.  And last spring, he graduated with nearly a 4.0 GPA. 
 
And today, Roger is a freshman at American University.  He’s majoring in international relations, and he also volunteers as a mentor.  He’s paying it forward.  He’s helping high school students just like all of you with their college applications and essays.  And I had a chance to meet Roger, who’s here today, and I'd like to -- Roger, can you stand up if you’re in the audience so we can give you a round of applause?  We’re so proud of you.  There Roger is.  (Applause.)  Congratulations. 
 
So every day, students like Menbere and Roger and all of you are proving that it is not your circumstance that define your future -- it’s your attitude.  It’s your commitment.  You decide how high you set your goals.  You decide how hard you’re going to work for those goals.  You decide how you’re going to respond when something doesn’t go your way.
 
And here’s the thing:  Studies show that those kinds of skills –- skills like grit, determination, skills like optimism and resilience –- those skills can be just as important as your test scores or your grade scores -- or your grades.  And so many of you already have those skills because of everything you’ve already overcome in your lives.   
 
Maybe you’ve had problems at home and you’ve had to step up, take on extra responsibilities for your family.  Maybe you come from a tough neighborhood, and you’ve been surrounded by things like violence and drugs.  Maybe one of your parents has lost a job and you’ve had to struggle just to make it here today.
 
One of the most important things you all must understand about yourselves is that those experiences are not weaknesses.  They’re not something to be ashamed of.  Experiences like those can make you stronger and more determined.  They can teach you all kinds of skills that you could never learn in a classroom –- the skills that will lead you to success anywhere in life.  But first, you’ve got to apply those skills toward getting an education. 
 
So what does that mean?  That means, first and foremost, believing in yourselves no matter what obstacles you face.  It means going to class every single day -- that’s what I did -- not just showing up, but actually paying attention, taking some notes, asking questions. 
 
It means doing your homework every single night -- I did -- studying hard for every test, even if it’s not your favorite subject.  It means reaching out to your teachers and counselors and coaches and asking for help whenever you need it.  And when you stumble and fall –- and I guarantee you, you will, because we all do –- it means picking yourself up and trying again and again and again. 
 
All of that is on you.  You’ve got to own that part of it.  You’ve got to step up as individuals.  Because here’s the key:  If you step up, if you choose to own your future and commit to your education, and if you don’t let anything stand in your way until you complete it, then you will not only lead our country to that North Star goal, but you will lead yourselves to whatever future you dream of.
 
That is my message for all of you today.  And over these next few years, I’m going to continue sharing that message all across the country and all across the world to students just like you.  We, with the help of Arne and the President and everyone in this administration, we’re going to do everything we can to help connect you to all the resources that are available to help you on your journey -– many resources that weren’t around when I was your age.
 
For example, we’re going to tell students about our College Navigator and College Scorecard that can help you find affordable programs that fit your interests, your goals.  We also want to make sure that you know about websites like StudentAid.gov, which helps you apply for grants and loans, and also provides you with a year-by-year checklist so you know what you need to be doing to get you to college, or whatever program you need to get to.
 
But I also believe that this conversation -- it’s got to be a two-way conversation.  I know that you all have important things to say, you have important questions that you deserve answers to, and that that’s why I want to make sure that I continue to hear your stories as well as talking to you.  I want to hear about your dreams.  I want to hear about the things you're worried about.  I want folks like me and my husband and your teachers and parents, I want you to tell us what we can do to help you get to college and fulfill your dreams.
 
So that’s what we’re going to do next.  I’m going to step away from the podium, and Secretary Duncan, Menbere, Jeff, and Keshia are going to come back out, and we’re going to talk.  We’re going to ask you some questions, you’re going to ask you some questions.  We’ll listen.  I don't want you go be shy, I want you to be relaxed, okay?  And we’ll talk more about how do we get you to your goals, okay?  And hopefully, this conversation here will help students around the country.
 
So are you all ready for that?  You have questions?
 
STUDENTS:  Yes.
 
MRS. OBAMA:  All right.  Well, let’s get it started.  Let’s bring out the other panelists.  You all, thank you so much.  We love you, and I’m so proud of you all.  Keep going.  (Applause.)

 

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Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the CBI annual conference to set out her vision for UK business including a modern Industrial Strategy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdHlCDelmFc

A week ago, I spoke at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at the Guildhall and set out Britain’s historic global opportunity – to lead the world in understanding the extent to which some people feel left behind by the forces of capitalism, and embracing a new approach that ensures everyone shares in the benefits of economic growth.

Today, I want to talk about how – by working together – we can seize that opportunity and deliver the change that people want.

But it is not just an opportunity. It is a responsibility too.

For we believe in free markets. They are the means by which we spread opportunity and lift people out of poverty.

We believe in capitalism – the means by which we drive economic growth, putting people into work to provide for their families.

And we believe in business – the entrepreneurs and the innovators who employ millions of people up and down this country – the basis for our prosperity.

The government I lead will always believe in these things.

But I am here today not just to reaffirm these core beliefs, but to say that – if this is what we value – we need to be prepared to adapt and change.

For if we support free markets, value capitalism and back business – and we do – we must do everything we can to keep faith with them.

And with not enough people feeling that they share in the wealth created by capitalism – and with the recent behaviour of a small minority of businesses and business leaders undermining the reputation of the corporate world as a whole – the way to keep that faith is to embrace reform.

To do things differently. To recognise that some people – particularly those on modest to low incomes – people worried about the future of their children and their grandchildren – see these forces working well for a privileged few, but not always for them.

So today, I want to ask you to join me in shaping this new approach and seizing this opportunity.

I want to ask you to work with me to show that the forces of capitalism, globalisation and free trade offer the best hope for the problems facing so many people in our country.

I want you to help me show those who feel let down, left behind or marginalised that we can respond. We can change.

And that together, we can meet this great national moment with a great national effort to seize the opportunities ahead and build a stronger, fairer Britain – a country that works for everyone.

A new approach

For this is a true national moment. The decision of the British people on 23rd June gives us a once-in-a-generation chance to shape a new future for our nation: the chance to build a stronger, fairer country.

That’s the kind of change people voted for – not just to leave the European Union, but to change the way our country works – and the people for whom it works – forever.

And I am determined that we will deliver the change they need.

So we will do things differently. Not carrying on with ‘business as usual’, but opening our minds to new ways of thinking – those of us in government, and those in business too.

For government, it means not just stepping back and leaving you to get on with the job, but stepping up to a new, active role that backs British business and ensures more people in all corners of the country share in the benefits of your success.

For business, it means doing more to spread those benefits around the country, playing by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to tax and behaviour, and investing in Britain for the long-term.

All things that I know the vast majority of businesses do already. Not just by creating jobs, by supporting smaller businesses, training and developing your people, but also by working to give something back to communities and supporting the next generation.

I have no doubt at all about the vital role business plays – not just in the economic life of our nation, but in our society too. But as Prime Minister, I want to support you to do even more.

That is why, when the Chancellor delivers the government’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, he will lay out an agenda that is ambitious for business and ambitious for Britain.

He will commit to providing a strong and stable foundation for our economy: continuing the task of bringing the deficit down and getting our debt falling so that we can live within our means once again. He will build on the actions that our independent Bank of England has already taken to support our economy. And he will do more to boost Britain’s long-term economic success, setting out how we will take the big decisions we need to invest in our nation’s infrastructure so that we can get the country – and business – moving.

And he will show how we will do everything possible to make the UK outside the EU the most attractive place for businesses to grow and invest.

Leaving the European Union

I know that leaving the European Union creates uncertainty for business. I know that some are unsure about the road ahead or what your future operating environment will look like. And there will certainly be challenges – a negotiation like the one on which we are about to embark cannot be done quickly, or without give and take on both sides.

But there are opportunities too. Opportunities to get out into the world and do new business with old allies and new partners. To use the freedoms that come from negotiating with partners directly, to be flexible, to set our own rules and forge new and dynamic trading agreements that work for the whole UK. Opportunities to become the true global champion of free trade.

And opportunities to demonstrate how a free, flexible, ambitious country like Britain can trade freely with others according to what’s in their own best interests and those of their people.

That is our aim and our ambition. And I am ambitious for Britain.

I believe that if we approach the difficult negotiations to come in the right way, with the right spirit, we can strike a deal that’s right for Britain and right for the rest of Europe too.

And the right approach is not to rush ahead without doing the ground work, but to take the time to get our negotiating position clear before we proceed. It’s not to seek to replicate the deal that any other country has, but to craft a new arrangement that’s right for us and right for Europe – recognising that a strong EU is good for Britain. It’s not to provide a running commentary on every twist and turn, but to acknowledge that businesses and others need some clarity – so where I can set out our plans without prejudicing the negotiation to come, I will.

That’s why I have been able to set out the timetable for triggering Article 50 – before the end of March next year. Why I want an early agreement on the status of UK nationals in Europe and EU nationals here, so that you and they can plan with certainty. And why we have been engaging heavily with businesses over the past few months to understand your priorities and concerns, and why we will continue to do so.

A modern industrial strategy

But while the negotiation to come will be critical, we must not lose sight of the wider message people sent on 23rd June.

And so, we must use this opportunity to build a more prosperous, more equal country – where prosperity is shared and there is genuine opportunity for all.

We have already received massive votes of confidence in Britain’s long-term future from some of the world’s most innovative companies. Nissan’s decision to build 2 next-generation models at its plant in the North East, securing 7,000 jobs. A record £24 billion investment from Softbank in Britain’s future; a £500 million expansion and 3,000 jobs from Jaguar Land Rover; a £200 million investment from Honda, £275 million from GlaxoSmithKline; investment in a new headquarters from Apple; an estimated £1 billion investment and 3,000 new jobs from Google; and this morning Facebook have announced a 50% increase in their workforce in the UK by the end of 2017.

Yet there is more that government can do – not just to encourage businesses to invest in Britain, but to ensure those investments benefit people in every corner of the country.

That’s why one of my first actions as Prime Minister was to establish a new department with specific responsibility for developing a modern Industrial Strategy.

A strategy that will back Britain’s strategic strengths and tackle our underlying weaknesses.

Our strengths are clear. We are an open, competitive, trading economy. We compete with the best in autos, aerospace and advanced engineering. We are breaking new ground in life sciences and new fields like robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing. We are leaders in global professional services from architecture to accountancy from law to consulting.

We’ve world beating universities and the highest research productivity of the top research nations. We have a vibrant creative industry, producing an extraordinary level of talent recognised and respected the world over. And of course we’re leaders in global finance – not just banking, but investment management and insurance too.

But as we celebrate these strengths, so we should also be frank about some of our weaknesses.

We have more Nobel Laureates than any country outside the United States, but all too often great ideas developed here end up being commercialised elsewhere.

We are home to one of the world’s financial capitals, but too frequently fast-growing firms can’t get the patient long-term capital investment they require, and have to sell-out to overseas investors to access the finance they need.

We have truly world class sectors and firms, but overall business and government investment remains lower than our competitors.

We have outstanding firms and clusters in every part of this country, but taken as a whole our economic success is still too unbalanced and focused on London and the south east.

We have gold-standard universities, but we are not strong enough in STEM subjects, and our technical education isn’t good enough.

And while the UK’s recovery since the financial crisis has been one of the strongest in the G7, our productivity is still too low. But if we want to increase our overall prosperity, if we want more people to share in that prosperity, if we want bigger real wages for people, if we want more opportunities for young people to get on, we have to improve the productivity of our economy.

So these are the long-term, structural challenges the Industrial Strategy aims to address. It is not about propping up failing industries or picking winners, but creating the conditions where winners can emerge and grow. It is about backing those winners all the way to encourage them to invest in the long-term future of Britain. And about delivering jobs and economic growth to every community and corner of the country.

That is the ambition – and we need your help to put it into practice. We cannot create a proper industrial strategy without listening to industry and we want to work with you and shape it together. So we will publish a green paper before the end of the year to seek your views before issuing a white paper early in the new year.

Research and development

But today I want to sketch out some of the first steps and spell out some specific things we will do to turn our ambition into reality.

We’re ambitious for Britain to become the global go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors. We will continue to welcome the brightest and the best – but can only do so by bringing immigration down to sustainable levels overall so we maintain public faith in the system.

Today, Britain has firms and researchers leading in some of the most exciting fields of human discovery. We need to back them and turn research strengths into commercial success.

That means not only investing more in research and development, but ensuring we invest that money wisely. Supporting technologies and sectors that have the potential to deliver long-term benefits for Britain.

In the last Parliament, despite the deficit we inherited, we protected the basic science budget, even when that meant we had to take difficult decisions to control other spending.

But our competitors aren’t standing still. They’re investing heavily in research and development.

So in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, we will commit to substantial real terms increases in government investment in R&D – investing an extra £2 billion a year by the end of this Parliament to help put post-Brexit Britain at the cutting edge of science and tech.

A new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will direct some of that investment to scientific research and the development of a number of priority technologies in particular, helping to address Britain’s historic weakness on commercialisation and turning our world-leading research into long-term success.

And we will also review the support we give innovative firms through the tax system.

Since 2010 we have made the Research and Development Credit more generous and easier to use – and support has risen from £1 billion to almost £2.5 billion a year.

Now we want to go further, and look at how we can make our support even more effective – because my aim is not simply for the UK to have the lowest corporate tax rate in the G20, but also a tax system that is profoundly pro-innovation.

Start-ups to scale-ups

This is a comprehensive package designed to set us on the path to becoming one of the best places for research and development in the world.

But there is no point having great ideas, great products, great start ups, if you can’t get the investment you need to grow your business here. For while the UK ranks 3rd in the OECD for the number of start-ups we create, we are only 13th for the number that go-on to become scale-up businesses.

I want us to turn our bright start-ups into successful scale-ups by backing them for the long-term. To do this we need to better understand where the barriers are, so I am pleased to announce we will launch a new Patient Capital Review – led by the Treasury – that will examine how we can break down the obstacles to getting long-term investment into innovative firms. The review will be supported by a panel of experts, and I am pleased to announce that Sir Damon Buffini has agreed to chair that panel.

So we are backing the innovators, and backing the long-term investors.

But government can also step up to help drive innovative procurement, particularly from small businesses – just as the United States does so effectively. There, strategic use of government procurement not only spurs innovation in the public sector, it gives new firms a foot in the door. In fact, many of the technologies in your smartphone, from touchscreens to voice recognition, were originally commissioned, not by Apple or Microsoft, but by the US government.

So I can announce today that we will review our Small Business Research Initiative and look at how we can increase its impact and give more innovators their first break. And that Cambridge entrepreneur David Connell will lead the review and report back next year.

Our modern Industrial Strategy will be ambitious for business and ambitious for Britain.

It is a new way of thinking for government – a new approach. It is about government stepping up, not stepping back, building on our strengths, and helping Britain overcome the long-standing challenges in our economy that have held us back for too long.

It’s about making the most of the historic opportunity we now have to signal an important, determined change.

Reforming corporate governance

But just as government needs to change its approach, so business needs to do so too.

For we all know that in recent years the reputation of business as a whole has been bruised. Trust in business runs at just 35% among those in the lowest income brackets.

The behaviour of a limited few has damaged the reputation of the many. And fair or not, it is clear that something has to change.

For when a small minority of businesses and business figures appear to game the system and work to a different set of rules, we have to recognise that the social contract between business and society fails – and the reputation of business as a whole is undermined.

So just as government must open its mind to a new approach, so the business community must too.

That is why we will shortly publish our plans to reform corporate governance, including executive pay and accountability to shareholders, and proposals to ensure the voice of employees is heard in the boardroom.

The UK rightly has a strong reputation for corporate governance – the Cadbury, Greenbury and other reforms, built on the strong foundations of the Companies Act and the Corporate Governance Code, have made the UK a prime location for listing and headquartering.

But we can’t stand still – we must continue to make improvements where these result in better companies and improved confidence in business on the part of investors and the public.

Much can be done by voluntary improvements in practice – in the representation of women on company Boards and in senior positions for example, or in broadening diversity. But where we need to go further we will.

So there will be a green paper later this autumn that addresses executive pay and accountability to shareholders, and how we can ensure the employee voice is heard in the boardroom.

This will be a genuine consultation – we want to work with the grain of business and to draw from what works. But it will also be a consultation that will deliver results.

And let me be clear about some important points.

First, while it is important that the voices of workers and consumers should be represented, I can categorically tell you that this is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards.

Some companies may find that these models work best for them – but there are other routes that use existing board structures, complemented or supplemented by advisory councils or panels, to ensure all those with a stake in the company are properly represented. It will be a question of finding the model that works.

Second, this is not about creating German-style binary boards which separate the running of the company from the inputs of shareholders, employees, customers or suppliers. Our unitary board system has served us well and will continue to do so.

But it is about establishing the best corporate governance of any major economy, ensuring employees’ voices are properly represented in board deliberations, and that business maintains and – where necessary – regains the trust of the public.

There is nothing anti-business about this agenda. Better governance will help companies to take better decisions, for their own long-term benefit and that of the economy overall.

So this is an important task. We will work with you to achieve it, and I know you will rise to the challenge.

Conclusion

This amounts to a big and ambitious agenda: but the times we are living through demand nothing less.

For change is in the air – and when people demand change it is the job of politicians to respond.

But we cannot do so alone. You who employ the people and generate the prosperity on which our country depends, must be part of this endeavour. You who are so often on the frontline of our engagement with the world – whose actions so often project our values in the world – must also play your part.

By joining us to shape this new approach, helping us put it into practice, and embracing the change we need.

Investing in Britain for the long-term, generating wealth and opportunity in every corner of the country, and reforming corporate governance to call out the bad in order to promote the good.

So let us join together and show that we can rise to meet this moment. Let us respond to the public’s demand for change.

Let us restore their faith and prove that capitalism can deliver them a better future. And let us build a stronger, fairer Britain together. Thank you.

 

St Andrew's Day 2016: Theresa May's message

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVO4HGD02eQ

 

When I stood on the steps of Downing Street in July, I talked about the precious bonds that bind our United Kingdom together.

Scotland has a special place at the heart of our historic union of nations and today, on St Andrew’s Day, it is right that we celebrate Scotland’s extraordinary contribution to our United Kingdom and to the whole world.

It was the Scottish enlightenment that broke new ground in economics, philosophy and architecture. It was Scottish engineers who developed the steam engine, the television and the telephone. It was a Scottish scientist who discovered penicillin. And it was in Scotland where the Edinburgh Seven became the first women in Britain to be admitted to a university degree programme.

Scotland has been a pioneering nation for centuries. And it remains so today.

I think of the computer games cluster in Dundee and the University of Glasgow’s work at the forefront of research into the Zika virus.

I think of the vital contribution that Scotland makes to the defence and security of the UK. From the home of our submarine fleet on the Clyde and the largest warships we’ve ever built, being assembled at Rosyth, to the generations of Scottish servicemen and women who have served our United Kingdom and given their lives for our shared freedoms.

I think of the global cultural impact of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, the Scottish Olympians and Paralympians who won gold for GB in Rio, and of course the stunning success of the Murray brothers – Jamie, part of the World Number 1 doubles team, and Andy, now World Number 1 in singles.

The whole United Kingdom takes pride in Scotland’s success.

And with Scotland’s pioneering spirit as a vital element in our union of nations, I am confident that together we can seize the opportunities of the future and ensure the continued success of our United Kingdom for generations to come.

So let me wish everyone in the UK and across the world a very happy St Andrew’s Day.

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Secretary Kerry Delivers Remarks at COP-22

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzEA7UgjCOs

 

John Kerry

Marrakech, Morocco
November 16, 2016
 

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you so much, everybody. I apologize for being a few moments late. There was a fire and then there was some traffic backed up, and so here I am and here are you, and thank you for being here.

Let me begin by thanking our terrific U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing. I couldn’t be luckier than to have him in this job. He was over at the Energy Department for a while. We stole him from Ernie Moniz, who is a great colleague and was gracious in my theft. And he has done a spectacular job working with all of our international partners as we begin the hard work of implementing the Paris Agreement. And I also want to thank Ambassador Jennifer Haverkamp, who, along with Jonathan and a lot of the team that I see sitting here, has done an absolutely terrific job in leading the State Department’s efforts to advance our climate goals this year. And I have to tell you – well, let me just divert for a minute. I also want to thank Brian Deese – I don’t know if he’s here – but I’m grateful for President Obama’s senior advisor on climate issues and the entire intrepid U.S. delegation to the COP, whom I had a chance to meet with earlier this morning, but we’ve kind of traveled this road together.

I also thank our international partners, and particularly the executive secretary of the UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa; the outgoing president of the COP, Minister Segolene Royal of France; and the incoming COP president, my friend and our host this week, Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, the foreign minister of Morocco. And I also want to thank our partners from Fiji, who will serve as president for the next COP, which I intend hopefully to attend as Citizen Kerry.

It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to be here in Marrakech. I’m reminded of one of the 20th century’s most outsized figures whose connection with this city is so famous – Sir Winston Churchill. He loved to paint the landscapes here and to absorb the beauty and the culture.

And in fact, at the very height of World War II, as he and President Franklin Roosevelt and Allied leaders gathered in Casablanca to plan the strategy for the European Theater, Churchill was absolutely stunned to learn that Roosevelt had never been to this part of Morocco.

So in a move that perhaps only Winston Churchill would get away with in the middle of a global war – world war – Churchill convinced Roosevelt to extend his visit and drive through what was still, at the time, a country engulfed in active combat.

So after several hours on the loose, and because we’re talking about Winston Churchill, plenty of Scotch – (laughter) – the two leaders arrived in Marrakech in time to see the sun set on the Atlas Mountains.

And Churchill said it was the loveliest view on Earth.

So I think it’s fitting, therefore, that almost three-quarters of a century later, friends and allies meet again in Marrakech in order to undertake a very important discussion – a discussion about the natural world that surrounds us and the importance of preserving it for generations to come.

As Jonathan mentioned, climate change is deeply personal to me, but it’s personal to everyone in this room. I know that. And we obviously want it to be just as personal for everyone in every room: men, women, children, businesspeople, consumers, parents, teachers, students, grandparents. Wherever we live, whatever our calling, whatever our background must be, this is an imperative.

Now, I know the danger of preaching to the choir – and, obviously, all of us here are the proverbial choir. But I’m actually grateful for that, because here at the 22nd COP, no one can deny the remarkable progress that we have made – progress that actually was pretty hard to imagine even a few years ago. The global community is more united than ever not just in accepting the challenge, but in confronting it with real action, in making a difference. And no one should doubt the overwhelming majority of the citizens of the United States who know climate change is happening and who are determined to keep our commitments that were made in Paris. (Applause.)

None of us will forget the moment last December at Le Bourget, when the former foreign minister of France, with Segolene and a bunch of you there, led by our friend Laurent Fabius, who gaveled in the strongest, most ambitious global climate agreement ever negotiated. It was an accord that took literally decades to achieve – the proud work product of principled diplomacy, and ultimately, a deeply held, shared understanding that we’re all in this together.

And when we left Paris, no one rested on their laurels. Instead, the world – unified – moved expeditiously to begin the – to pull the agreement permanently into force, crossing the thresholds of 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions, and doing so far faster than even the most optimistic among us might have predicted. In a powerful statement of the whole world’s broad commitment to this agreement, in less than a year, 109 countries representing nearly 75 percent of the world’s emissions have now formally committed to bold, decisive action – and we are determined to affirm that action and to stick with it out of Marrakech.

Now, we have in place – (applause) – so we have in place a foundation, based on national climate goals – 109 nations, each of them have come up with their own plan, each of us setting goals that are based on our own abilities and our own circumstances. This agreement is, in fact, the essence of common but differentiated responsibilities. It provides support to countries that need help meeting the targets. It leaves no country to weather the storm of climate change alone. It marshals an array of tools in order to help developing nations to invest in infrastructure, technology, and the science to get the job done. It supports the most vulnerable countries, so they can better adapt to the climate impacts that many of those countries are already confronting.

And finally, it enables us to ratchet up ambition over time as technology develops and as the price of clean energy comes down. This is critical: the agreement calls on the parties to revisit their national pledges every five years, in order to ensure that we keep pace with the technology and that we accelerate the global transition to a clean energy economy.

This process – a cornerstone of our agreement – gives us a framework that is built to last, and a degree of global accountability that has never before existed. But I want to share with you that the progress that we’ve made this year goes well beyond Paris.

In early October, the International Civil Aviation Organization established a sector-wide agreement for carbon-neutral growth. Why is this so important? Because international aviation wasn’t covered by what we did in Paris, and if that aviation was a country, it would rank among the top dozen greenhouse gas emitters in the world.

A few weeks later, I was pleased to be in Kigali, Rwanda, when representatives from again nearly 200 countries came together to phase down the global use and production of hydrofluorocarbons – which has been expected to increase very rapidly with a danger that is multiple of times more damaging than carbon dioxide. The Kigali agreement could singlehandedly help us to avoid an entire half a degree centigrade of warming by the end of the century – while at the same time opening up new opportunities for growth in a range of industries.

All of these steps combine to move the needle in the direction that we need to. And in large part because global leaders have woken up to the enormity of this challenge, the world is now beginning to move forward together towards a clean energy future.

Over the past decade, the global renewable energy market has expanded more than six-fold. Last year, investment in renewable energy was at an all-time high – nearly $350 billion. But that only tells you part of the story. An average of – that 350 billion is the first time that we’ve been able to see that money outpacing what is being put into fossil fuels. An average of half a million new solar panels were installed every single day last year. And for the first time since the Pre-Industrial Era, despite the fact that you have global prices of oil and gas and coal that are lower than ever, still more of the world’s money was invested in renewable energy technologies than in new fossil fuel plants.

And like many of you, I’ve seen this transformation take hold in my own country. That’s why I’m confident about the future, regardless of what policy might be chosen, because of the marketplace. I’ve met with leaders and innovators in the energy industry all across our nation, and I am excited about the path that they are on. America’s wind generation has tripled since 2008 and that will continue, and solar generation has increased 30 times over. And the reason both of those will continue is that the marketplace will dictate that, not the government. I can tell you with confidence that the United States is right now, today, on our way to meeting all of the international targets that we’ve set, and because of the market decisions that are being made, I do not believe that that can or will be reversed. (Applause.)

Now, much of this is due to President Obama’s leadership, and our Congress also moving in a bipartisan fashion on things like tax credits for renewable energy. This leadership has helped to inspire targeted investment from the private sector. Today our emissions are being driven down because market-based forces are taking hold all over the world. And that’s what we said we would do in Paris. None of us pretended that in Paris, the agreement itself was going to achieve two degrees. What we knew is we were sending that critical message to the marketplace, and businesses have responded, as I just described. Most businesspeople have come to understand: investing in clean energy simply makes good economic sense. You can make money. You can do good and do well at the same time.

Now, significantly, the renewable energy boom isn’t limited to industrialized countries, and that’s important to note. In fact, emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil invested even more in renewable technologies last year than the developed world.

China alone invested more than 100 billion dollars. Ultimately, clean energy is expected to be a multitrillion dollar market – the largest market the world has ever known. And no nation will do well if it sits on the sidelines, handicapping its new businesses from reaping the benefits of the clean-tech explosion.

My friends, we are in the midst of a global renewable energy surge, and as a result, in many places, clean energy has already reached cost parity with fossil fuels. Millions around the world are currently employed by the renewable energy industry. And if we make the right choices, millions more people will be put to work.

So good things are happening. The energy curve is bending towards sustainability. The market is clearly headed towards clean energy, and that trend will only become more pronounced.

Now, for those of us who have been working on this challenge for decades, this really is a turning point. It is a cause for optimism, notwithstanding what you see in different countries with respect to politics and change. In no uncertain terms, the question now is not whether we will transition to energy economy – to a clean energy economy. That we’ve already begun to do. The question now is whether or not we are going to have the will to get this job done. That’s the question now – whether we will make the transition in time to be able to do what we have to do to prevent catastrophic damage.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not a Cassandra. You can tell from what I’ve said. But I’m a realist. Time is not on our side. The world is already changing at an increasingly alarming rate with increasingly alarming consequences. The last time that Morocco hosted the COP was in 2001, and the intervening 15 years have been among the 16 hottest years in recorded history. 2016 is going to be the warmest year of all. Every month so far has broken a record. And this year will contribute its record-breaking heat to the hottest decade in recorded history, which was, by the way, preceded by the second-hottest decade, which was preceded by the third hottest decade. At some point, even the strongest skeptic has to acknowledge that something disturbing is happening.

We have seen record-breaking droughts everywhere – from India to Brazil to the west coast of the United States. Storms that used to happen once every 500 years are becoming relatively normal. In recent years, an average of 22.5 million people have been displaced by extreme weather events annually. We never saw that in the 20th Century.

Communities in island states like Fiji have already been forced to take steps to relocate permanently, because the places they have called home for generations are now uninhabitable. And there are many, many more who know it’s only a matter of time before rising oceans begin to inundate their cities.

I know this is a lot for anyone to process – hard to process. That’s why I have found that whenever possible, the best way to try to understand and to see whether people are pushing the envelope of thinking on this or not is to see for oneself what is happening. That’s why this summer I went to Greenland to visit the incredible Jakobshavn glacier. Scientists pointed out to me the lines many meters above the water today that mark the glacier’s retreat which it has done more in the past 15 years than it did in the entire previous century. And while I was there, I boarded a Danish naval vessel and I traveled through the ice fjord. I saw the massive ice chunks that had just broken off from the glacier to melt inexorably into the sea. And because they come off Greenland, which is on rock, every bit of that ice contributes to the rise of the ocean.

Since the 1990s, the painful pace of that melting has nearly tripled. Every day, 86 million metric tons of ice makes its way down that fjord into the ocean. And the total flow that comes off that glacier in a single year is enough water to meet the needs of New York City for two decades.

But experts in Greenland and elsewhere have always warned me, and they warned me on this trip this summer, if you really want to understand what’s happening and what the threat is, go to Antarctica. Nowhere on the planet are the stakes as high as they are on the opposite end of the globe. For half a century, climate scientists have believed the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a sword of Damocles hanging over our entire way of life. Should it break apart and melt into the sea, it alone could raise global sea levels by four to five meters. And the scientists down there described to me how the pressure of the ice and the weight of the ice pushes the entire continent down so that it’s grounded on the base of Earth’s crust and rock. But that allows warmer sea water to creep in under the glacier and speed up the process of the melting and destabilize the glacier.

Antarctica contains ice sheets that are, in some places, on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet three miles deep. And if all that ice were somehow able to melt away completely because we are irresponsible about climate change, in the coming centuries, sea level would rise somewhere over 100 to 200 feet.

That’s why I flew last week to McMurdo Station in Antarctica to meet with our scientists and to understand better what is taking place. I flew by helicopter over the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. I walked out onto the Ross Sea ice shelf. And I talked with the scientists who are on the front lines, not people involved in day to day politics, but people who are making scientific judgment and doing extensive research. And they were crystal clear: The more they learn, the more alarmed they become about the speed with which these changes are happening. A scientist from New Zealand named Gavin Dunbar described what they’re seeing there as the quote, “canary in the coal mine” and warned that some thresholds, if we cross them, cannot be reversed.

In other words, we can’t wait too long to translate the science that we have today into the policies that are necessary to address this challenge. These scientists urged me to remind my own government and governments around the world and everyone here that what we do right now – today – matters, because if we don’t go far enough and if we don’t go fast enough, the damage we inflict could take centuries to undo – if it can be undone at all.

I underscore today: We don’t get a second chance. The consequences of failure would in most cases be irreversible. And if we lose this moment for action, there’s no speech decades from now that will put these massive ice sheets back together. There’s no magic wand in any capital in the world that you can wave to refill all of the lakes and rivers that will dry up, or make farm – arid farm land fertile again. And we certainly won’t have the power to hold back rising tides as they encroach on our shores. So we have to get this right, and we have to get it right now.

The scientists in Antarctica told me that they are still trying to figure out how quickly this is all happening. But they know for certain that it’s happening, and it’s happening faster than we previously thought possible. The alarm bells ought to be going off everywhere. As an American glacial geologist told me down there, a fellow by the name of John Stone, he said, “The catastrophic period could already be underway.” That’s why wise public policy demands that we take precautionary measures now.

Still, despite the real-life changes that are being done and the threat of more to come, it’s important to remind ourselves that we are not on a pre-ordained path to disaster. This is not pre-ordained. It’s not written in the stars. This is about choices – choices that we still have. This is a test of willpower, not capacity. It’s within our power to put the planet back on a better track. But doing that requires holding ourselves accountable to the hard truth. It requires holding ourselves accountable to facts, not opinion; to science, not theories that haven’t been proven and can’t be proven; and certainly not to political bromides and slogans.

For all the progress that we are making, at the current pace we will not meet our goal. I said that earlier. We knew in Paris that what we were doing was trying to start down a road. But we also knew it doesn’t get us to the end of the journey. Yes, renewables make up more than half of all the new electricity installation last year. That’s progress. But the reality is because of the existing energy infrastructure already in place, that new energy only generated a little more than 10 percent of the world’s total energy. That is nowhere near what we need in order to achieve our goals.

If we’re going to have the ability to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we have to dramatically accelerate the transition that is already starting. We need to get to a point where clean sources are generating most of the world’s energy, and we need to get there fast. Certainly experts tell us by the middle of this century we have to get there.

Now, I’ve said many times, and I’ll say it again today: It is not going to be governments alone, or even principally, that solve the climate challenge. The private sector is the most important player. And already we are seeing real solutions coming from entrepreneurs and academia. It’s going to be innovators, workers, and business leaders, many of whom have been hammering away at this challenge for years who are going to continue to create the technological advances that forever revolutionize the way that we power our world.

But make no mistake, government leadership is absolutely essential. And because today is the last opportunity I will have to address the COP as Secretary of State, I just want to take a moment to underscore the work that government leaders can do and should do, especially the 200 – almost 200 nations represented here.

Now, we know that we have not come to Marrakech to bask in the glow of Paris. We’ve come here to move forward. In doing so, we cannot forget that the contributions we’ve each made thus far were never meant to be the ceiling. They’re a foundation on which we expect to build. And unless our nations voluntarily ratchet up our ambition, and unless we continue to put sustained pressure on one another to act wisely, we will have difficulty meeting the current mitigation needs, let alone holding temperature increases at 2 degrees warming, which science tells us is a tipping point.

And if we fall short, it will be the single greatest instance in modern history of a generation in a time of crisis abdicating responsibility for the future. And it won’t just be a policy failure; because of the nature of this challenge, it will be a moral failure, a betrayal of devastating consequence.

Now, I know not – that’s not what any of us here signed up for. As Pope Francis said, “We receive this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan for future generations, to whom we will have to return it.”

Now, I fully recognize the challenges that a number of countries face because they have a big population, they have a growing economy, they have a lot of people in poverty, they’re determined to maintain stability and pull those people into the economy. And of course, they’re concerned about stability – we all are. Access to affordable energy is a key part of providing that stability. And the dirtiest sources of energy are, unfortunately, some of the cheapest. But I emphasize this: Only in the short term. In the long term, it’s an entirely different story, folks. In the long term, carbon-intensive energy is actually today, right now, one of the costliest and most foolhardy investments any nation can possibly make. And that is because the final invoice for carbon-based energy includes a lot more than just the price of the oil or the coal, or the natural gas; it – or the price of building the power plant. The real cost accounting needs to fully consider all of the downstream consequences, which, in the case of dirty fuels, are enough to at least double or triple the initial expenses.

That’s the kind of accounting that we need to do today. Just think about the price of environmental and agricultural degradation. Think about the loss of an ability of farmers in one area because of the lack of water or too much heat to be able to grow their crops today. Think of the hospital bills for asthma and emphysema patients, and the millions of deaths that are linked to air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels.

In 2014, a study found that up to six million people in China have black lung because they lived and worked so close to coal-fired power plants. There are nearly 20 million new asthma cases a year in India linked to coal-related air pollution, and in the United States, asthma costs taxpayers more than $55 billion annually. The greatest cause of children being hospitalized in the summer in the United States is environmentally induced asthma. These are real costs, and they need to be added to the tally.

We also have to include the price tag of rebuilding after devastating storms and flooding. Just in the first three quarters of this year alone, extreme weather events have cost the United States – have cost American taxpayers $27 billion in damage. In August alone, Louisiana experienced flooding that resulted in roughly $10 billion worth of damage.

So none of us can afford to be oblivious to these expenses, and these initial costs are in reality just a glimpse of what the future could hold in store for us if we fail to respond. Just imagine: Sea barriers that have to be built. Go down to Miami – in south Miami, they’re building – they’re raising streets to deal with flooding that’s already occurring, building new storm drains and assessing people additional tax in order to do it. Massive increases in cost of maintaining infrastructure to control flooding, withstand storms. Power outages. All of this and more has to be added to any honest assessment of high-carbon energy sources. And in an age of increasing transparency and public demand for accountability, citizens in the long run will not accept phony accounting or an obfuscation of the consequences of the decisions.

So everyone needs to make smarter choices – with the long game, not the short game, in mind.

Coal, unfortunately, is the single biggest contributor to global carbon pollution. It provides about 30 percent of the world’s energy, but it produces nearly 50 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. The unprecedented investments that we are now seeing in clean energy will mean very, very little if, at the same time, new coal fire plants without carbon capture are coming online and at a rate dumping into the atmosphere more and more of the very pollution that we’re all working so hard to reduce.

Some of these projections, I have to tell you, are deeply troubling. For example, between now and 2040, the demand for electricity in Southeast Asia is likely to triple – and the bulk of that demand is currently expected to be met by growth – where? In the coal-fired power sector, rather than clean energy. That threatens everything we’re trying to achieve here.

We literally cannot use one hand to pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve done to take steps to address climate change, and then turn around and use the other hand to write a big fat check enabling the widespread development of the dirtiest source of fuel in an outdated way. It just doesn’t make sense. That’s suicide. And that’s how we all lose this fight.

Make no mistake: People all over the world are working for victory in this. And this issue is increasingly capturing the attention of citizens everywhere, and certainly the private sector. The private sector welcomed the signals that we sent in Paris, but they are demanding even stronger signals now – the private sector – so that they can invest clean energy solutions with even greater confidence.

One of the strongest signals that government can send, one of the most powerful ways to reduce emissions at the lowest possible course – cost – is to move toward carbon pricing that puts basic, free-market economics to work in addressing this challenge.

Now obviously, this is not a new idea. Many have come to this conclusion already. The share of global emissions that are covered by a carbon price has tripled over the last decade. Last year, more than 1,000 businesses and investors – including sectors that might be surprising to some of you – all came together to voice their support for carbon pricing. The long list of supporters includes energy companies like BP, Royal Dutch Shell, utilities like PG&E, transportation companies like British Airways, construction firms like Cemex, financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, like Swiss Re, and consumer goods corporations like Unilever and Nokia. These companies all believe that carbon pricing will establish the necessary certainty in the marketplace that helps the private sector to move the capital that helps to solve the problem.

Carbon pricing allows citizens, innovators, and companies – it allows the market to make independent decisions free from the government to be able to best drive their emission reductions. And this is also, by the way, the chief reason that carbon pricing has received support from leaders and economists on both sides of the aisle in the United States of America. A price on carbon, coupled with government support for innovation in key sectors, is easily one of the most compelling tools for the world to accelerate the clean energy transformation that we are working to achieve. Now, while it may be some time before we see this ideal outcome, the effort to improve carbon markets ought to be a priority going forward.

The bottom line is that there are many tools at the world’s disposal. The COP itself is an important tool, in a sense. It has become much more of a – much more than just a gathering of government officials. It’s really a yearly summit, 25,000 people strong this year from all over the world, for all sectors to showcase their commitment to climate action and to discuss ways to expand shared efforts. It’s a regular reminder of exactly how much this movement has grown – and how many people, in how many countries, are committed to action.

Walking around the conference here before I was coming in here and seeing this site in Marrakech, and seeing the delegations and the business leaders, the entrepreneurs and the activists who have traveled from near and far to be here, it’s abundantly clear we have the ability to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

But again, we’re forced to ask: Do we have the collective will? Because our success is not going to happen by accident. It won’t happen without sustained commitment, without cooperation and creative thinking. And it won’t happen without confident investors and innovative entrepreneurs. And it certainly won’t happen without leadership.

For those in power in all parts of the world, including my own, who may be confronted with decisions about which road to take at this critical juncture, I ask you, on behalf of billions of people around the world: Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take just the existence of this COP as the stamp of approval for it. I ask you to see for yourselves. Do your own due diligence before making irrevocable choices.

Examine closely what it is that has persuaded the Pope, presidents, and prime ministers all over the world, leaders around the world, to take on the responsibility of responding to this threat. Talk to the business leaders of Fortune 500 companies and smaller innovative companies, all of whom are eager to invest in the energy markets of the future. Get the best economists’ judgment on the risk of inaction, of what the cost would be to global economies, versus the opportunities that are to be found in the clean energy market of the future. Speak with the military leaders who view climate change as a global security concern, as a threat multiplier. Ask farmers about – and fisherman about the impact of dramatic changes in weather patterns on their current ability to make a living and to support their families or on what they see for the future. Listen to faith leaders talk about the moral responsibility that human beings have to act as stewards of the planet that we have to share, the only planet we have. Bring in the activists and civil society, groups who have worked for years with communities all over the world to raise awareness and to respond to this threat. Ask young people about their legitimate concerns for the planet that their children will inherit in reducing emissions worldwide.

And above all, consult with the scientists who have dedicated their entire lives to expanding our understanding of this challenge, and whose work will be in vain unless we sound the alarm loud enough for everyone to hear. No one has a right to make decisions that affect billions of people based on solely ideology or without proper input.

Anyone who has these conversations, who takes the time to learn from these experts, who gets the full picture of what we’re facing – I believe they can only come to one legitimate decision, and that is to act boldly on climate change and encourage others to do the same.

Now, I want to acknowledge that since this COP started, obviously, an election took place in my country. And I know it has left some here and elsewhere feeling uncertain about the future. I obviously understand that uncertainty. And while I can’t stand here and speculate about what policies our president-elect will pursue, I will tell you this: In the time that I have spent in public life, one of the things I have learned is that some issues look a little bit different when you’re actually in office compared to when you’re on the campaign trail.

And the truth is that climate change shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the first place. It isn’t a partisan issue for our military leaders at the Pentagon who call climate change a threat multiplier. (Applause.) It isn’t a partisan issue for those military leaders because of the way that climate change exacerbates conflicts all over the world and who view it as a threat to military readiness at their bases and could suffer the consequences of rising seas and stronger storms. It isn’t a partisan issue for our intelligence community, who just this year released a report detailing the implications of climate change for U.S. national security: threats to the stability of fragile nations, heightened social and political tensions, rising food prices, increased risks to human health, and more.

It isn’t a partisan issue for mayors from New Orleans to Miami, who are already working hard to manage sunny-day floods and stronger storm surges caused by climate change. It isn’t partisan for liberal and conservative business leaders alike who are investing unprecedented amounts of money into renewables, voluntarily committing to reduce their own emissions, and even holding their supply chains accountable to their overall carbon footprint.

And there’s nothing partisan about climate change for the world scientists who are near unanimous in their conclusion that climate change is real, it is happening, human beings for the most part are causing it, and we will have increasing catastrophic impacts on our way of life if we don’t take the dramatic steps necessary to reduce the carbon footprint of our civilization.

Now, whether we are able to meet this moment is a big test – probably as big a test of courage and vision as you’ll ever find. Every nation has a responsibility to do its part if we are going to pass that test – and only those nations who step up and respond to this threat can legitimately lay claim to a mantle of global leadership. That’s a fact.

More than his love of Marrakech, Winston Churchill was known for his hard-nosed insight and the way that he expressed it. He once argued, tellingly: “It’s not always enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required.”

We know today what is required. And with all of the real-world evidence, with all of the peer-reviewed science, with all of the plain just old common sense, there isn’t anyone who can credibly argue otherwise. So we have to continue this fight, my friends. We have to continue to defy expectations. We have to continue to accelerate the global transition to a clean energy economy. And we have to continue to hold one another accountable for the choices that our nations makes.

Earlier this year, on Earth Day, I had the great privilege of signing the Paris Agreement on behalf of President Obama and the United States. It was a special day. And because my daughter lives in New York, I invited her to join me at the UN. She surprised me by bringing my 2-year-old granddaughter, Isabelle, along as well.

And that morning, I had been thinking about the history that had brought us to that day. I thought about the first Earth Day in 1970 that I mentioned earlier, when I joined with millions of Americans in teach-ins to educate the public about the environmental challenges we faced. I thought about the first UN climate conference in Rio, which is actually where I met my wife Teresa, and I thought of the urgency that we all felt way back then in 1992. And of course, I thought about that December night at Le Bourget, when it seemed – for the first time – that the world had finally found the path forward.

But as I sat and I played with my granddaughter, waiting for my turn to go out and sign the Agreement, I thought, not of the past, but I thought of the future. Her future. The world her children would one day inherit.

And when it was time for me to go up on that stage, I scooped her up and I brought her out with me. I wanted to share that moment with her. And I’ll never forget it.

But to my surprise, people responded to her presence that day, and since then so many people have said to me, they’ve conveyed to me how that moment conveyed something special and moved them. They told me they thought of their own children, their own grandchildren. They thought of the future. They were reminded of the stakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, here in Marrakech, in the next hours, let us make clear to the world that we will always remember the stakes. Let us stand firm in support of the goals that we set in Paris and recommit ourselves to double our efforts to meet them. Let us say that when it comes to climate change, we will commit not just to doing our best, but as Winston Churchill admonished, we will do what is required.

I look forward to working with you in this important work for whatever number of years ahead I have a chance to. Thank you.

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Reimagining India: A conversation with Kishore Mahbubani

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hyuMe5C7qk

 

Indians have enjoyed notable success internationally in terms of per capita income, but their performance at home does not necessarily match their progress abroad. Kishore Mahbubani, dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, believes the achievements that Indians have made overseas—particularly in the United States—highlights the stark divide between the country’s potential and its actual performance. In this video interview, the former diplomat argues that India must embrace globalization and explains how more open competition will foster better-performing companies in India. What follows is an edited transcript of his remarks.

Interview transcript

Potential versus performance

It’s so easy to grasp the gap between India’s potential and its performance because you can see the potential of what an ethnic Indian can do in the most competitive human laboratory in the world, which is the United States of America. And when the Indians arrived in America, they thought they might be number five or number six in terms of per capita income. They ended up being number one.

The fact that Indians, ethnic Indians, could become number one in the most competitive human laboratory in the world showed what their potential is. They outperform people in universities, in corporations, as deans of business schools. And then when you go back to India, and you see the same Indians, and you look at the level of performance, you are wondering, “What happened here? Why can’t the people in India achieve a similar per capita income?” Forget 100 percent. Think of 50 percent. Think of 30 percent of what Indians have achieved in America, and India would have an explosively large global economy. So clearly there is a mystery here that needs to be solved.

Closing the gap

It has taken several decades, after the end of British colonial rule, for the Indians to gradually wake up and realize, “Hey, I’m as good as anybody else. I can perform as well as anybody else.” And I am actually very happy that, if you did an objective study of India today, the levels of cultural self-confidence are rising decade by decade in India.

And as they keep rising, I think India’s performance will continue to improve. But still, there is some way to go. The fastest way to accelerate the transition to address the gap within the performance of Indians overseas—not just in the United States of America but in Singapore, in England, and elsewhere—is to, in a sense, create a stronger symbiotic link between overseas Indians and Indians in India.

I serve on the global advisory council of the prime minster of India. And one point I made is, just allow a special entry for overseas Indians to come back and invest in India. Because I’m sure they would be happy to do so.

And it is easier for them to do so because they understand the local culture and they are aware that it’s frustrating and difficult to invest in India. But they can address those difficulties and those frustrations. So the more that India could do in terms of establishing this symbiotic link between Indians in India and overseas Indians, the more India’s performance will grow.

Embracing the future

It’s paradoxical that for a long time—especially starting from Nehru’s1 days when, as you know, India had a kind of socialist bias—India was one of the chief opponents of globalization because it thought that Western multinational corporations would come in and rape India because the poor Indians are so weak and defenseless. The paradox here is: if you look around the world, wherever there’s an open global economic competition in any part of the world, the Indians do very well.

So in some ways, the record shows that the more open global competition is, the better the Indians will do. And therefore the time has come for the Indian foreign ministry, which has changed its position somewhat, to actually swing sharply rightwards and say, “India will be the number-one champion of globalization.” Because the more globalized the world becomes, the more integrated India becomes in the global economy, and the better India will perform. Because Indians can compete no matter what the competition is like.

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