Democrats Defend Kerry’s Climate Comments

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14: U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) (L), and U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) co-chair a bicameral climate control task force hearing on Capitol Hill, January 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. The hearing was focused on land erosion on the Alaskan village of Shishmaref. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Clare Foran
Feb. 21, 2014, 1:36 a.m.

Demo­crats are lin­ing up to de­fend Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry’s claim that cli­mate change is a threat to na­tion­al se­cur­ity in the face of con­ser­vat­ive at­tacks.

Sen. Shel­don White­house of Rhode Is­land and Rep. Henry Wax­man of Cali­for­nia, two  self-de­scribed cli­mate hawks, sent a let­ter Thursday to Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., and former House Speak­er Newt Gin­grich be­rat­ing them for cri­ti­cism they leveled at the sec­ret­ary of State for his re­marks earli­er this week.

Over the week­end, Kerry de­livered a speech in Jakarta, In­done­sia, in which he said cli­mate change was “per­haps the world’s most fear­some weapon of mass de­struc­tion.”

The speech promp­ted swift con­ser­vat­ive back­lash. Gin­grich called for Kerry’s resig­na­tion, while Mc­Cain com­men­ted that the sec­ret­ary was wrong to em­phas­ize cli­mate change when con­flict in Syr­ia has res­ul­ted in mass cas­u­al­ties.

In their let­ter, Wax­man and White­house ex­press dis­ap­point­ment with con­ser­vat­ive re­ac­tion to Kerry’s re­marks. They call Mc­Cain’s line of at­tack “in­ac­cur­ate” and “un­in­formed,” and say that some ex­perts be­lieve the Syr­i­an con­flict could have its un­der­pin­nings in cli­mate change.

The let­ter also lists off a num­ber of de­fense ex­perts who have com­men­ted on the threat to na­tion­al se­cur­ity posed by cli­mate change and warm­ing tem­per­at­ures.

“Sec­ret­ary Kerry needs al­lies in this fight for the fu­ture of our plan­et,” White­house and Wax­man wrote. “His­tory will not look back and fault him for lead­ing the charge to pre­vent the worst im­pacts of cli­mate change while we still have time.”

What We're Following See More »
Obamacare Premiums Set to Soar Next Year
44 minutes ago

The "benchmark" Obamacare silver plan—"upon which federal subsidies are based—will cost an average of $296 a month next year," an increase of 22% over current averages. That figure, however, "masks wide variation among the states. In Arizona, the benchmark plan's average premium will increase 116% in 2017. Arizona had the lowest rates of any state this year, said Kathryn Martin, an acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In Indiana, the benchmark plan will be 3% cheaper."

Ron Klain in Line to Be Clinton’s Chief of Staff?
45 minutes ago

Sources tell CNN that longtime Democratic operative Ron Klain, who has been Vice President Biden's chief of staff, is "high on the list of prospects" to be chief of staff in a Clinton White House. "John Podesta, the campaign chairman, has signaled his interest in joining the Cabinet, perhaps as Energy secretary."

Uphill Battle for AT&T/Time Warner Deal
45 minutes ago

"AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion deal to buy Time Warner Inc. sails toward two cresting waves of opposition: resurgent antitrust enforcement in Washington and politicians fired by a new bipartisan populist rage. It is too early to know how regulators will treat the AT&T-Time Warner deal. But after several quiet years, President Barack Obama’s antitrust team has switched into high gear in response to a recent spurt of deal-making," a trend that's likely to continue into the next administration. The Obama Justice Department has scuttled 43 mergers, "more than double the mergers blocked by the preceding Bush Justice Department."

CNN/ORC Has Clinton Up 5 Points
14 hours ago

Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 49%-44% in a new CNN/ORC poll out Monday afternoon. But it's Gary Johnson's performance, or lack thereof, that's the real story. Johnson, who had cleared 10% in some surveys earlier this fall, as he made a bid to qualify for the debates, is down to 3% support. He must hit 5% nationwide for the Libertarian Party to qualify for some federal matching funds in future elections.

McCarthy, Pelosi Team Up on National Guard Bonuses
17 hours ago

The majority and minority leader of the House are both saying "California's veterans are not to blame for being mistakenly overpaid, after a Los Angeles Times story revealed that officials are trying to claw back millions in bonuses from California National Guardsmen. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the efforts to recoup the money 'disgraceful,' and asked for the Department of Defense to waive the repayments soldiers would be forced to make if they inappropriately received re-enlistment bonuses for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she's looking for a "legislative fix" in the lame-duck session.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.