Climate science alarming, irrefutable: Kerry

Sep 02, 2013
Residents wade through floods in Majuro Atoll, the capital of the Marshall Islands, on February 20, 2011. US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the evidence for climate change is beyond dispute but it is not too late for international action to prevent its worst impacts.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the evidence for climate change was beyond dispute but it was not too late for international action to prevent its worst impacts.

"The science is clear. It is irrefutable and it is alarming," Kerry told a in Majuro in the Marshall Islands in a video address from Washington.

"If we continue down our current path, the will only get worse."

Kerry said without strong, immediate action, the world would experience threats to , regional stability, public health, , and the long-term viability of some states.

Washington's top diplomat was addressing meeting on the eve of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in the Marshall Islands, a low-lying nation where rising seas threaten to swamp many atolls.

"I stand with you in the fight against climate change," he pledged, adding the issue was a that was beyond one country to fix and needed urgent global action.

"If we act together, there is still time to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change," he said. "But the people of the Pacific Islands know as well as anyone that we also need to prepare communities for the impacts that are already being felt."

Kerry is not attending the PIF, with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell representing the United States instead.

John Kerry, pictured August 30, 2013 in Washington. The US Secretary of State has said the evidence for climate change is beyond dispute but it is not too late for international action to prevent its worst impacts.

Earlier, European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the threat facing low-lying island nations showed that international action on the issue was overdue.

Hedegaard expressed concern that some countries may try to delay a 2015 deadline for implementing reductions in emissions and increasing reliance on .

She said Europe and the Pacific island nations would work together to push the international community to honour the deadline.

"We have to make a joint pressure to say the world is already more than late (in addressing climate change)," she told the conference in the capital Majuro.

"2015 must be taken seriously."

Hedegaard said that even though the Pacific islands were not responsible for climate change, they were willing to accept tough emissions targets, making it difficult for other nations not to follow suit.

The 15 PIF nations include islands states such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshalls, where many atolls are barely a metre (three feet) above sea level and risk being engulfed by rising waters.

The PIF is set to finalise a "Majuro Declaration" on climate change this week, which aims to reinvigorate global efforts to contain global warming.

Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said the situation was "dire" and the Pacific needed immediate action, not vague promises to do something a few years down the track.

"We need concrete action on the ground to save Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati," he said.

"We have to send a very strong signal out of this panel and forum that we need a legally binding agreement (on greenhouse gas emissions)."

The plan is to then present the declaration to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the General Assembly meeting in New York at the end of September, "to reenergise the international community".

Explore further: New report highlights 'significant and increasing' risks from extreme weather

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pacific sounds warning on climate change

Aug 30, 2013

The Marshall Islands has warned that the clock is ticking on climate change and the world needs to act urgently to stop low-lying Pacific nations disappearing beneath the waves.

Rising seas washing away Pacific leader's home island

Jun 26, 2013

As the US urges world leaders to ramp up action on climate change, the leader of one small island chain in the North Pacific Ocean has already got the message—watching helplessly as rising seas slowly erode ...

Red Cross cartoon to demystify Pacific climate change

Jul 03, 2013

The Red Cross has launched a light-hearted education campaign aimed at those it describes as most vulnerable to climate change: Pacific islanders living on low-lying atolls threatened by rising seas.

UN chief calls for urgent action on climate change

Sep 08, 2011

(AP) -- United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday that urgent action was needed on climate change, pointing to the famine in the Horn of Africa and devastating floods in northern Australia ...

Islands want UN to see climate as security threat

Feb 16, 2013

(AP)—The Marshall Islands and other low-lying island nations appealed to the U.N. Security Council on Friday to recognize climate change as an international security threat that jeopardizes their very survival.

Recommended for you

Gold rush an ecological disaster for Peruvian Amazon

6 hours ago

A lush expanse of Amazon rainforest known as the "Mother of God" is steadily being destroyed in Peru, with the jungle giving way to mercury-filled tailing ponds used to extract the gold hidden underground.

Australia out of step with new climate momentum

8 hours ago

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who rose to power in large part by opposing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, is finding his country isolated like never before on climate change as the U.S., China ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Claudius
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 02, 2013
This fellow is really showing his quality. First he accuses the Syrian government of using chemical weapons, without producing any evidence. Now he insists AGW is irrefutable. How do you know if he is lying? When his lips are moving.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.