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. 
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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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