Secretary of State John Kerry likened the effects of climate change to those of “terrorism, epidemics, poverty, [and] the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction” during a speech Sunday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” Kerry said, calling Indonesia “one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth.” Kerry warned of potential losses to Indonesia’s fisheries and noted that a rising sea level could leave cities underwater.
Stating that 97 percent of climate scientists agree on the presence and impact of climate change, Kerry labeled skeptics “shoddy scientists” and members of “the Flat Earth Society.”
“We just don’t have time to let a few loud interests groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said.
Kerry’s comments followed President Obama’s announcement last week of a $1 billion Climate Resilience Fund in the 2015 budget, part of the administration’s broader efforts to promote global climate change partnerships.
In the speech, Kerry called for international cooperation in energy policy and announced his plans to involve American embassy personnel worldwide in climate change diplomacy. He argued that this may help lessen the likelihood of “heat waves,” “water shortages,” “famine,” and “avoid disputes and even entire wars over oil, water, and other limited resources.”
“Climate change, if left unchecked, will wipe out many more communities from the face of the earth,” Kerry said, announcing to his audience of college students that “the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk.”