Blue Green Tech Conference
A conference bringing together New Zealand & the U.S. to explore & showcase how the uptake of blue & green technologies can prepare Pacific nations for future global challenges.
A groundbreaking cleantech and innovation conference in December 2022, Auckland, that explored and showed how the uptake of blue and green technologies can prepare us for future global challenges. The conference brought together government, industry and academic thought leaders and change-makers within the cleantech sector to accelerate our transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future.
Ambassador Udall spoke at the conference about this critical area, and you can read his speech below.
Hosted by UniServices in partnership with the U.S Department of State, this inaugural event provided a rallying point for collaboration and networking between the U.S. and New Zealand’s innovative technology and business industries, as we look to a greener future in partnership.
To view the schedule, and to find out more, visit: blueandgreentech.co.nz, and follow #bluegreentech2022 on social.
“Both our countries care deeply about being good environmental stewards. Climate change is an existential crisis, particularly in the Pacific, and this conference is about exploring smart solutions, working together to face the challenge head-on,” said Ambassador Udall.
Ambassador Udall's Blue & Green Conference Speech.
Tēnā koutou katoa.
Ko Sangre de Cristo te maunga.
Ko Rio Grande te awa.
Nō Santa Fe ahau.
Ko Jill Cooper taku hoa wāhine.
Ko Udall tōku whanau.
Ko Tom tōku ingoa.
Greetings everyone and thank you for having me here today. I am Tom Udall, the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, Sāmoa, the Cook Islands, and Niue.
It is a great pleasure to be with you all. I want to thank and acknowledge Minister James Shaw, University of Auckland UniServices CEO Andy Shenk, all of the incredible speakers and participants, and my amazing team. All of you have made this event possible, and we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. It’s an honor to be here.
U.S. President John Kennedy once said, “Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man… No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable — and we believe they can do it again.”
I ask you to keep these words in mind today and tomorrow as you participate in the conference.
Protecting the environment has been one of my greatest lifelong passions, instilled in me by my father, Stewart Udall.
He once said, “Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect humanity.” That statement remains absolutely true today: we have only one planet. This Earth. And our survival as a species rests on how we treat our environment.
I often draw on the wisdom of our indigenous peoples to inspire my thinking.
There is a Native American proverb, that translates as: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
I understand there’s a similar Māori saying as well.
I love that introductions here – like many Native American tribes I’ve worked with – connect you to mountains and bodies of water. We have to be connected to our surroundings if we truly want to save them.
We have a moral duty to prioritize preserving our lands, our air, and our waterways. It stands to reason that there is no more important area of policy than this.
Now let me speak for a moment about U.S. policy on climate and where you – as companies, innovators, and businesses utilizing cleantech initiatives – come in.
U.S. President Joe Biden has made addressing the climate crisis a top priority.
He rejoined the Paris Agreement on Day One of his administration and set an ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions target.
He signed a $1.2 billion Infrastructure Bill in November. And in August, he signed the Inflation Reduction Act.
Despite the name, this is the single largest investment and most significant legislation for climate and clean energy solutions in U.S. history.
It puts the United States on track to achieve President Biden’s ambitious target to cut U.S. emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030.
And it demonstrates that the United States will deliver on its climate commitments for years to come.
On emission reductions, there is an urgent imperative for the world to do all we can to keep 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. I’m proud to say that the United States is on track to meet this goal.
We also ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in October, which New Zealand, Sāmoa, and other Pacific Island countries have already done.
On climate finance, we remain strongly committed to the goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually for developing country mitigation and adaptation. President Biden requested $11 billion for climate finance in his budget request to Congress. The United States will do our part to meet the $100 billion goal.
However, we also need to work with governments and the private sector to mobilize trillions of dollars to accelerate the net-zero transition as well as to advance climate resilience.
In 2021, only about $755 billion was invested globally in the energy transition; that was a record, but only one-third of what we need to meet our 2030 goals.
We need public dollars and development finance to catalyze private investment in clean and climate resilient technologies. We also need capital to invest in innovation to scale and bring the next generation of technologies to market.
This is where all of you come in.
You might be a part of this financial support for a clean energy transition. You might be a beneficiary of it. You might be putting new and innovative technology out there. Regardless, this conference is the perfect opportunity to make connections, develop partnerships, and help protect our future by protecting our environment.
Now, I want to conclude by speaking about our U.S. role in Aotearoa New Zealand and the wider Pacific. Afterall, the U.S.-New Zealand partnership is why we are all here in the same room today.
I suggest to you that what makes us truly strong is the power of our partnerships rooted in our common values – like equality and human rights. Our partnerships enable us to work together to advance those values and tackle the great global challenges before us like climate change.
If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you all to read the United States-Aotearoa New Zealand Joint Statement that was released at the end of May when President Biden met Prime Minister Ardern in the White House.
In this document, President Biden and Prime Minister Ardern committed to advancing our longstanding partnership to meet 21st-century challenges: bolstering security and building resilience, including to climate change, in the Pacific; promoting prosperity in the Indo-Pacific; and combatting the climate crisis and ensuring the responsible use of technology around the world.
As President Biden said during the historic U.S.- Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington D.C. in September, this is about deepening our enduring commitment to each other and our shared future;
our commitment to tackling the climate crisis, which threatens all of us; and about equitably rebuilding the global economy in the wake of COVID-19.
The President said Pacific nations, like New Zealand, are a critical voice in shaping the future and that is why his administration has made it a priority to strengthen our partnership.
At the end of the day, as a Pacific nation, this is our home too.
Together with Aotearoa New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Niue – we have deep bonds of friendship, a shared commitment to democratic values, and a history of engagement.
Together, we can achieve our climate goals.
I hope during this conference you keep the idea of partnership in mind – make connections, develop new ideas, share resources. A lot of good can come from just meeting each other today and tomorrow.
I have high hopes for what these new connections might bring to for all our futures.