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November 1, 2021

Secretary Antony J. Blinken at the COP26 U.S. Center Opening Event

NOVEMBER 1, 2021

SECRETARY BLINKEN: Good afternoon. It is a great pleasure to join all of you for what is the official launch of the U.S. Center here at COP26. And I just want to thank everyone across the U.S. Government who made all of this happen.

Over the next two weeks, we will be hosting dozens of conversations, bringing together hundreds of people here in Glasgow, and thousands more online to step up our response to the climate crisis.

As you saw from that video, tackling the climate crisis isn’t the responsibility of any single agency or department in the U.S. Government because climate change doesn’t only threaten our economy, our infrastructure, or our national security; it’s a threat to all of them and more.

In the past week, we have received two very powerful reminders of that fact. The first was a comprehensive report from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence. It laid out the evidence of how climate change is driving regional instability and straining nearly every aspect of human life, from food and water insecurity to migration patterns. I can attest from my own conversations with colleagues around the world that these are increasingly daily struggles that they are dealing with in their countries. And in our country, we also see the effects of climate change including droughts in some places, floods in others, more intense storms, longer and more damaging wildlife seasons – wildfire seasons, excuse me.

The second recent reminder was the United Nations annual Emissions Gap Report which discussed the mounting effects of climate change on the most vulnerable people and communities around the world. We have a microphone issue? It made clear the imperative that we have before us to strengthen both our ambition and our action in this decisive decade if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and prevent a climate catastrophe.