U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on Sunday in Wellington, New Zealand following a trip to Antarctica to see firsthand how global warming has impacted the region and ahead of a Asia-Pacific Diplomatic Summit.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, U.S. Secretary Kerry said that the Obama administration would do everything possible to meet its environmental policy commitments until January 20th when a new Trump administration takes over the White House.
“And until January 20th when this Administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibility to future generations to be able to address this threat to life itself on the planet” Secretary Kerry told reporters.
When questioned about what he thinks a Trump presidency means for the future of the Paris Agreement and for climate change, Secretary Kerry explained that he doesn’t think he should speculate on what President-elect Trump’s presidency is going to mean with respect to it and acknowledged that sometimes there is a divide between a campaign and the governing.
Secretary Kerry pointed out the Trump administration needs to define itself on that subject.
So far the preliminary signs from President elect Donald Trump don’t appear to be very promising for environmentalists.
Trump has already talked about “canceling” the Paris Agreement during his presidential campaign, which is a 4 year undertaking, and he’s already appointed a leading climate change denier to head his transition team for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through his selection of Myron Ebell, a non-scientist, who serves as Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the right leaning Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Ebell is also chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, a group that aims to “question global warming alarmism.”
Secretary Kerry said that scientists across the world overwhelmingly reinforce what’s happening with climate change and the United States sees evidence of it every single day.
“Last year in the United States we spent $8 billion cleaning up after storms that were far more intense than any we’ve had before” Secretary Kerry said.
Secretary Kerry added that oceans are also deeply linked to climate change.
“Protecting the Ross Marine Area, which is a major moral responsibility, is part of that endeavor because the acidification which is taking place as a result of the carbon dioxide being dumped in the ocean is greatly changing coral reefs as well as habitat for fisheries, and that is compounded with a fishing industry across the world which is increasingly putting pressure on fish stocks as human demand rises for protein from the ocean” Secretary Kerry said.
Secretary Kerry admitted that he will wait to see how the next administration addresses climate change and said that they are now on the right track, and it is a track that the American people are committed to because the majority of the American people believe climate change is real and want to see politicians like him to address it.
Next week Secretary John Kerry will head to Marrakech, Morocco to participate in the UN sponsored Marrakech Climate Change Conference of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22).
Sierra Club Global Climate Policy Director John Coequyt warns that Donald Trump’s failure to accept climate change science could lead to some negative consequences for the United States.
“Donald Trump’s failure to acknowledge basic climate science wouldn’t just leave him isolated on the world stage as President, it would undermine our relationships with key allies and threaten our ability to work effectively internationally. Trump’s climate science denial would make him a global laughingstock if it wasn’t so dangerous” Coequyt said.
“Every single leader on earth- from Germany to India to Somalia to Japan – recognizes that the climate crisis is happening and demands the world’s attention, but Trump is sticking his head in the sand while the seas are rising” Coequyt added.