SECRETARY BLINKEN: Rahm.
AMBASSADOR EMANUEL: I’m going to be – I’ll be very quick. First of all, I really do want to thank the Secretary for taking time, and he’s got – coming from up north, but also from Vietnam and around, to take the time to come to the residence after we just returned from a visit with the prime minister and a meeting there, an update on the G7 agenda and also about what’s going on with the world.
This is a small announcement. It’s consistent with what I did when I was mayor of the City of Chicago, but more importantly, it’s consistent with the President of the United States’ executive order that all federal buildings be green and carbon-free from an electricity standpoint. So we are the first embassy, consulates for the United States system of this caliber, this size, this scope that we’ll be able to say before the G7 – and the President’s goal is by 2045, so we’re a little early. But we didn’t – we wanted to lead by example. We also didn’t want to just do the talk, we also wanted to do the walk and be consistent with the principles of climate, a sensitive set of policies and the government buildings also leading by example.
We’re under no illusion – it’s not going to change the trajectory of climate change or hitting 1.5. But it is a contribution of both the residence, the embassy, and then all the five consulates throughout Japan – all of them, by the G7, will be green, electric-free, and – green electric and carbon-free to meet the President’s objectives, which we think is the right contribution for the United States embassy, when the President is here talking about supply chains and talking about climate change, that his representatives, his voice, his face to the Japanese public is consistent with his values and his political and policy goals.
And I want to thank the Secretary of State, your presence emphasizing that we all have a role to play. Thank you very much, Tony.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Rahm, thank you. Given Ambassador Emanuel’s deep and long experience of leadership, you wouldn’t say normally that he’s green. (Laughter.) But in fact he is, and is in some of the other areas leading – leading the way. This is a tremendously exciting day: to have one of the most major embassies that we have anywhere in the world make this green transition really sets the example and sets the stage to do even more across the entire State Department enterprise. And as the ambassador said, we’re fulfilling an executive order by the President, but the fact that it’s happening here in Japan – we’ve mentioned Tokyo – is very, very meaningful.
And it’s meaningful in other ways too. This is the equivalent of having a 6,500-mile[i] forest for sequestration. That’s how much absorbed carbon equivalent you have by going green with this embassy. It’s the equivalent of driving 40 million[ii] miles less a year. So this actually has an impact. And as we do this across the entire enterprise and as our government does it in government buildings in the United States as well as around the world, it will have an impact. And as Rahm said, this is leading by example.
So it’s wonderful to be here to be able to take note of this. I actually think this is a – this is a big deal, and I’m proud to be part of it and proud to be here with the ambassador.
AMBASSADOR EMANUEL: Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you all.
AMBASSADOR EMANUEL: Thank you, Tony.