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'. 
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Clare Foran
Feb. 17, 2014, 1:51 a.m.

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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