Kerry Immersed in Conference on Clean Oceans as Iraq Falls Apart
As Iraq is overrun by terrorists and President Obama said "intensive diplomacy" is needed to solve the crisis, Secretary of State John Kerry is spending the beginning of the week hosting celebs and royalty at Foggy Bottom to discuss clean oceans and climate change.
Kerry welcomed Monaco's Prince Albert at a luncheon yesterday, lauding him for "doing whatever he can do to protect the ocean."
"In 2009, when scientists first began to discover that carbon pollution was dramatically disturbing the chemistry of the ocean and causing it to acidify, Prince Albert brought together a group of 150 scientists from more than two dozen countries to alert policy makers around the world about the troubling findings. Thanks in part to his commitment and sense of urgency, last year the International Atomic Energy Agency established a new international coordination center in Monaco in order to better understand the global impacts of ocean acidification," he said.
Kerry announced that the State Department will be making a $320,000 contribution to Monaco's effort this year, and the Department of Energy will match that contribution with another $320,000 of its own "in order to help kick the acidification study into even higher gear."
At a reception Monday evening with Prince Albert, Kerry gave a shout out to attendees Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.
Kerry said he and Danson met 25 years ago, and "also got to know each other because Cheers was not too many blocks away from where I hung out in Boston."
"And on one occasion, I was walking by at night heading home. And the producers, they were shooting this scene outside, and I think Norm and someone were out there. I can't remember who else -- Cliff. I think Norm and Cliff were in the thing or something. But anyway, they stopped me on the way and they said, Senator, we got to put you in this thing. So we literally ad-libbed this thing on the spur of the moment," he said. "And they were hanging out outside and they had me walk up and they said, hey, can we get your autograph? And I started to sign the autograph very proud and peacocked because I was being asked for an autograph. And then they start talking to each other and say, God, we really liked that weather report you did the other day on the news. It was so terrific."
"And then I said, who do you think I am? And they said, you're so-and-so, the local weatherman. And I said, no, I'm Senator Kerry. And they both shrug and walk away. So it was a great lesson in humility, and the residuals have gone to a charity for years. But thank you, Ted, for helping me to support the charity. I'm very appreciative."
Today, Kerry's schedule was packed with opening remarks on the second day of the Our Ocean Conference and a conference luncheon with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, White House Senior Counselor John Podesta, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Whitehouse makes a weekly speech on the Senate floor about climate change.
Kerry was also hosting a Twitter Q&A on climate change today with Bill Nye the Science Guy.