Kerry: ‘Be Ready to Join Us’ in Fight against Climate Change

By Patrick Burke | February 20, 2013 | 1:20pm EST

In this Feb. 14, 2013 file photo, Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

( - In his first public address as Secretary of State, John Kerry told the audience of students and faculty at the University of Virginia to “be ready to join” him and President Obama in curbing the potential threat of climate change.

“We as a nation must have the foresight and the courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and our grandchildren, and that is an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate,” Kerry said on Wednesday.

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“President Obama is committed to moving forward on that, and so am I, and so must you be ready to join us in that effort,” he said.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama also discussed the potential consequences of climate change, and what he views as the necessity to try and prevent it.

“Now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, all are now more frequent and more intense,” Obama said.

He continued, “We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late.”

Kerry was sworn in as Secretary of State on Feb. 1, following the departure of Hillary Clinton.

In his remarks, Kerry said he chose the University of Virginia for his first public address because American foreign policy has effects on the everyday lives of Americans in a globalized world.

“The reason is very simple. I came here purposefully to underscore that in today’s global world, there is no longer anything foreign about foreign policy,” Kerry said. “More than ever before, the decisions that we make from the safety of our shores don’t just ripple outward. They also create a current right here in America.”

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