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John Kerry Holds Series Of Climate Change Discussions In New Haven

Former Secretary of State John Kerry is at Yale University this academic year to collaborate with faculty and students. This week, he’s hosting a series of talks on the lasting impacts of climate change.

Kerry said recent extreme weather events -- like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma -- pay no heed to partisan squabbles in Washington D.C.

“There's nothing political about the havoc that ever-more powerful storms wreaked in places like Texas, Louisiana, the Caribbean, Florida,” Kerry said.

Kerry was speaking on a panel with several policy makers, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

Representatives from the business world were also on stage, including Jeff Immelt, chairman and former CEO of General Electric, which recently moved its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston.

While Immelt praised Kerry for his work on the Paris Agreement -- the international accord on climate which the Trump administration has vowed to quit -- he said when it comes to the environment, policy isn't enough.

“If you're going to wait for government to do anything in this realm, you're going to get left behind,” Immelt said.

Immelt said private capital should flow into developing clean technology, and cited China as an example.

“The fact that we have a good solar market development in the U.S. is really because the Chinese have driven the cost of panels through the floor,” Immelt said. “We catch the boomerang, in terms of what's going on globally.”

On Tuesday, Kerry speaks with actor Leonardo DiCaprio, a "United Nations Messenger of Peace," about citizen engagement in climate change policy.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at Connecticut Public. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.
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