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
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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.”

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