Kerry: 'Science of Climate Change Leaping Out At Us Like Scene from 3D Movie'

Patrick Goodenough | February 16, 2014 | 8:20pm EST
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Secretary of State John Kerry takes a selfie with a group of students before delivering a speech on climate change on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, Pool)

( – Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday slammed “loud interest groups” and “a tiny minority of shoddy scientists” who challenge claims on climate change, a phenomenon he described as “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

In a speech in Jakarta, Kerry said that “97 percent of climate scientists have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible.”

“[President] Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society,” he said.

“These scientists agree on the causes of these changes and they agree on the potential effects,” he said. “And they agree that, if we continue to go down the same path that we are going down today, the world as we know it will change – and it will change dramatically for the worse.”

Kerry, whose climate activism long predated his nomination as America’s top diplomat, told an audience of mostly Indonesian students and government officials that he addresses the issue “in nearly every single country that I visit as secretary of state, because President Obama and I believe it is urgent that we do so.”

He said climate change “ranks right up there with” other challenges like terrorism, epidemics, poverty and weapons of mass destruction proliferation.

“The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3D movie. It’s warning us, it’s compelling us to act. And let there be no doubt in anybody’s mind that the science is absolutely certain.”

Kerry gave short shrift to those who believe otherwise.

“We just don’t have time to let a few loud interests groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said. “And when I say that, you know what I’m talking about? I’m talking about big companies that like it the way it is, that don’t want to change, and spend a lot of money to keep you and me and everybody from doing what we know we need to do.”

Kerry went on to dismiss in turn:

--“a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues” who “compete with scientific fact.”

--“those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.”

--“those who want to sit around debating whose responsibility it is to deal with this threat, while we come closer and closer to the point of no return.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry tours the Istiqlal Mosque with Grand Imam K.H. Ali Mustafa Yaqub on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Jakarta. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, Pool)

“I have to tell you, this is really not a normal kind of difference of opinion between people,” he continued. “Sometimes you can have a reasonable argument and a reasonable disagreement over an opinion you may have. This is not opinion. This is about facts. This is about science. The science is unequivocal. And those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand.

“[President] Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”

During his Senate confirmation hearing in early 2013 Kerry described climate change as a “life threatening” issue. In the Senate the previous year he said climate change was as dangerous as the possibility of Iran developing nuclear weapons, or war breaking out between the U.S. and Iran.

In its most recent report, released last September, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and that it is “extremely likely” that human activity has been the main cause.

Last year a peer-reviewed academic journal published the results of a survey of more than 1,000 professional engineers’ and geoscientists’ views on climate change. It found that only 36 percent fitted into a group that “express[ed] the strong belief that climate change is happening, that it is not a normal cycle of nature, and humans are the main or central cause.”

The other respondents to varying degrees expressed skepticism about the causes of climate change, the extent of risk it poses, and the accuracy of IPCC modeling.

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