The PJ Tatler

Kerry: 'Only Thing Our Generation' May Be Remembered for Is Not Acting on Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry asked Americans to “crank up the volume” today on Earth Day, arguing “we still have time to make a difference” on climate change, “but it’s fast running out.”

“Make no mistake: If we let this opportunity pass us by, that may be the only thing our generation is remembered for,” Kerry warned in a statement.

He used California’s current water crisis as a model of climate change devastation. “America is once again on a dangerous path – along with the rest of the world. Climate change, if unchecked, is an urgent threat to health, food supplies, biodiversity and livelihoods across the globe,” he said.

“The solution to climate change is staring us in the face. It’s energy policy. If we pursue a global clean energy economy, we can cut dramatically the amount of carbon pollution we emit into the atmosphere and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”

Kerry said the only question is whether “national and local leaders will summon the political will to do it effectively and soon.”

“It’s difficult to determine whether one specific storm or drought is solely caused by climate change, but the growing intensity of storms and changing weather patterns should be a clear signal. Here in the United States, California is enduring the fourth year of its worst drought in recorded history,” he said.

“This is just the beginning. If we don’t make significant changes – quickly – scientists say we can expect sea levels to continue rising to dangerous levels, more intense and frequent extreme weather events, severe disruptions to food supplies and prolonged resource shortages.”

President Obama is visiting the Florida Everglades today. The White House marked Earth Day with a fact sheet of “new steps to protect the people and places climate change puts at risk.” Most of the initiatives consisted of reports, national parks restoration, and helping communities map flood risks.

On Thursday, the Department of Agriculture “will announce new voluntary actions it will take in partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and support President Obama’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.”

Today a group of East Coast Democratic senators will introduce a bill that “prohibits the U.S. Department of Interior from issuing leases for the exploration, development, or production of oil or gas in the North, Mid-, or South Atlantic Ocean.”