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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.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon names actor Leonardo DiCaprio, as a UN Messenger of Peace in 2014. DiCaprio will be at Yale University Tuesday to speak about climate change.
Mark Garten / UN
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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon names actor Leonardo DiCaprio, as a UN Messenger of Peace in 2014. DiCaprio will be at Yale University Tuesday to speak about climate change.

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