Sunday, March 15, 2015

John Kerry: 'By What Right Do People' Dispute Climate Change?

    Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the Atlantic Council Thursday morning as part of the Road to Paris Climate Series and he compared the certainty of human-caused climate change to the law of gravity and to the temperature at which water freezes. He also questioned the right of anyone to dispute or deny that humans are causing climate change [emphasis added]:
So stop for a minute and just think about the basics. When an apple falls from a tree, it will drop toward the ground. We know that because of the basic laws of physics. Science tells us that gravity exists, and no one disputes that. Science also tells us that when the water temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it turns to ice. No one disputes that. 
So when science tells us that our climate is changing and humans beings are largely causing that change, by what right do people stand up and just say, “Well, I dispute that” or “I deny that elementary truth?” And yet, there are those who do so. Literally a couple of days ago, I read about some state officials who are actually trying to ban the use of the term “climate change” in public documents because they’re not willing to face the facts. 
Now folks, we literally do not have the time to waste debating whether we can say “climate change.” We have to talk about how we solve climate change. Because no matter how much people want to bury their heads in the sand, it will not alter the fact that 97 percent of peer-reviewed climate studies confirm that climate change is happening and that human activity is largely responsible. I have been involved in public policy debates now for 40-plus years, whatever, since the 1960s. It is rare, rare, rare – I can tell you after 28 years-plus in the Senate – to get a super majority of studies to agree on anything. But 97 percent, over 20-plus years – that’s a dramatic statement of fact that no one of good conscience has a right to ignore.
    Kerry also said that although from "Venezuela to Iraq to Ukraine, there is no shortage of energy challenges in the world today", "at the top of the list of energy challenges is climate change." The United Nations is holding a conference on climate change in Paris later this year.
    When asked if Kerry was suggesting that people do not have the right to dispute or deny that humans "are largely causing" climate change and if perhaps he regretted his choice of words, a State Department official replied, “The Secretary’s comments speak for themselves.”
    Kerry's full remarks are here.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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