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Climate Summit Day 2 message: Invest big for big payoff

Climate Summit Day 2 message: Invest big for big payoff
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Washington DC: The White House brought out the billionaires, the CEOs and the union executives Friday to help sell President Joe Biden's vision of a climate-friendly transformation of the US economy at his virtual summit of world leaders.

The closing day of the two-day summit on climate change showcased Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg, steelworker and electrical union leaders and executives for solar and other renewable energy, all arguing that pouring money now into emerging technology and efficient transport and electric systems will pay off in jobs and wealth long-term.

Presidents and prime ministers from around the world joined in to describe their own investments and commitments to break away from reliance on climate-damaging petroleum and coal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking virtually like the dozens of other participating international officials, described scientists at hundreds of Israeli start-ups working hard to improve crucial battery storage for solar, wind and other renewable energy.

President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta described Kenya leapfrogging its economy from coal, kerosene and wood fires to a leading user and producer of geothermal and wind.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen renewed Denmark's pledge to end oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, switching from offshore oil and gas rigs to wind farms.

Bloomberg spoke from the US, declaring, We can't beat climate change without a historic amount of new investment."

We have to do more, faster to cut emissions," said Bloomberg, who's donated millions to promote replacing dirty-burning coal-fired power plants with increasingly cheaper renewable energy.

Biden envoy John Kerry stressed the political selling point that the president's call for retrofitting creaky US infrastructure to run more cleanly would put the US on a better economic footing long-term.

No one is being asked for a sacrifice," Kerry said. This is an opportunity.

It's all in service of an argument US officials say will make or break Biden's climate agenda: Pouring trillions of dollars into clean-energy technology, research and infrastructure will speed a competitive US economy into the future and create jobs, while saving the planet.

Republicans are sticking to the arguments that former President Donald Trump made in pulling the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

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