Kerry, Obama Go on the Offensive With Climate Change Rhetoric

Climate change has been a major topic in the news and on politicians’ tongues as of late, with President Barack Obama speaking on the issue in his State of the Union address. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Jakarta, Indonesia, on the topic of climate change, emphasizing the need for international efforts after first touching on Syria and counterterrorism efforts.

“You really only have to look at the extensive science to understand that climate change is one of the one, two, or three biggest challenges facing this planet,” said Kerry, per a release of the remarks from the U.S. Department of State. “That’s why I raise the issue in nearly every single country that I visit as Secretary of State.”

He spoke on the need for cooperative efforts, especially from two of the largest democracies in the world, saying that climate change constitutes “the most quintessentially global challenge” that the world has seen and that it “demands a global solution.” He was later asked how the United States can speak so strongly on the need for cooperative action while refusing to accept international standards such as the Kyoto Protocol.

Kerry described efforts toward environmental reform from the Obama administration, naming emissions reduction, agricultural standards, and and tough coal protocols as examples. “We are increasingly moving on a climate action agenda, which President Obama has put into place and ordered. We meet regularly with the cabinet now in order to designate … where each area could provide greater contribution to emissions reductions,” said Kerry.
Earlier this month, the director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, spoke on the issue of climate change as it relates to California’s extreme droughts. Emergency aid is presently being set up via the recently signed Farm Bill, with much of California’s agricultural industry in desperate need of the financial boost.

“My administration will work with tech innovators and launch new challenges under our Climate Data Initiative,” said Obama in a statement on the drought, explaining that the program will be “focused initially on rising sea levels and their impact on the coast, but ultimately focused on how all these changes in weather patterns are going to have an impact up and down the United States — not just on the coast but inland as well — and how do we start preparing for that.”

The statement came after Obama visited California to participate in roundtable discussions with local government leaders, including California’s Democratic governor, Edmund G. Brown.

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