Kerry Calls Climate Change a National Security Threat

US Secretary of State John Kerry pauses as he delivers a speech on climate change in Jakarta on February 16, 2014. Kerry will on February 16 issue a clarion call for the world to do to more to combat climate change, warning the planet is being pushed to 'a tipping point of no return'. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Feb. 17, 2014, 1:51 a.m.

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Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry called cli­mate change a threat to na­tion­al se­cur­ity and urged in­ter­na­tion­al col­lab­or­a­tion in the fight against glob­al warm­ing dur­ing a dip­lo­mat­ic tour of Asia this week.

“Cli­mate change can now be con­sidered an­oth­er weapon of mass de­struc­tion, per­haps the world’s most fear­some weapon of mass de­struc­tion,” Kerry said in an ad­dress de­livered in Jakarta, In­done­sia, on Sunday. “Think about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weapons of mass de­struc­tion. It doesn’t keep us safe if the United States se­cures its nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al, while oth­er coun­tries fail to pre­vent theirs from fall­ing in­to the hands of ter­ror­ists. We all have to ap­proach this chal­lenge to­geth­er.”

The sec­ret­ary of State said dur­ing the speech that while the U.S. is tak­ing steps to rein in car­bon emis­sions, de­vel­op­ing na­tions must also curb air pol­lu­tion.

“It is time for the world to ap­proach this prob­lem with the co­oper­a­tion, the ur­gency, and the com­mit­ment that a chal­lenge of this scale war­rants…. It’s not enough for one coun­try or even a few coun­tries to re­duce their emis­sions when oth­er coun­tries con­tin­ue to fill the at­mo­sphere with car­bon pol­lu­tion as they see fit,” he said.

Don’t ex­pect Kerry to stop talk­ing about cli­mate any time soon. Aides say the sec­ret­ary of State is slated to de­liv­er a series of speeches stress­ing the ur­gency of cli­mate ac­tion this year.

Kerry re­it­er­ated calls for great­er col­lab­or­a­tion in the ef­fort to mit­ig­ate cli­mate change dur­ing a press con­fer­ence Monday with In­done­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Marty Nat­alegawa. He was also forced to de­fend the U.S. against cri­ti­cism that it lacks au­thor­ity to push for in­ter­na­tion­al ac­tion on cli­mate change in light of its fail­ure to rat­i­fy the Kyoto Pro­tocol, an in­ter­na­tion­ally bind­ing glob­al-emis­sions treaty.

“On the sub­ject of cli­mate change and the in­ter­na­tion­al con­ven­tions, ac­tu­ally the United States of Amer­ica is tak­ing a lead today,” Kerry said. “Pres­id­ent Obama has de­cided that he will do, by ex­ec­ut­ive or­der, what Con­gress has been un­will­ing to do “¦ [and] we have lowered emis­sions in the United States sig­ni­fic­antly.”

Dur­ing the press con­fer­ence Kerry also touted a pledge made by the U.S. and China to re­duce green­house-gas emis­sions an­nounced on Sat­urday.

Kerry’s heavy em­phas­is on cli­mate change comes as the ad­min­is­tra­tion mulls a fi­nal de­cision on the Key­stone XL pipeline. Obama has said he will not ap­prove the pipeline if it sig­ni­fic­antly adds to the amount of green­house gases in the at­mo­sphere.

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