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Earth Science

US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction' 401

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Arshad Mohammed reports on Reuters from Jakarta that US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Indonesians that man-made climate change could threaten their entire way of life, deriding those who doubted the existence of 'perhaps the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction' and describing those who do not accept that human activity causes global warming as 'shoddy scientists' and 'extreme ideologues'. 'Because of climate change, it's no secret that today Indonesia is ... one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth. It's not an exaggeration to say that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk,' said Kerry. 'In a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.' In Beijing on Friday, Kerry announced that China and the United States had agreed to intensify information-sharing and policy discussions on their plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions after 2020. At home, Kerry faces a politically tricky decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline after a State Department report played down the impact the Keystone pipeline would have on climate change. However Kerry showed little patience for skeptics in his speech. 'We just don't have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,' said Kerry. '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.'"
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US Secretary of State Calls Climate Change 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'

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  • Bah, fake posturing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:17AM (#46265923) Homepage

    As a michigan resident I discovered this year that the Democrats have no interest in saving the environment. they wont even shut off the chicago river to keep the damn china carp from infesting the great lakes. Obama himself refuses to let the scientists and the Civil engineers shut it off. by the time they stop their stupid posturing it will be too late.

    "by 2020" is too late, way too late to begin to start to talk about things. they need to be talking now not at a date set so that none of the current leaders have to bother with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gutnor (872759)

      The US has no interest in saving the environment. Neither is (really) any of the other first world nations. Like Europe, the US will not get the worst of climate change, and in any case, there is no place better prepared to deal with the consequences.

      It is however a real problem for almost all other countries. I guess Kerry's message is really "Friendly warning guys: you better care about the environment, because we don't give a fuck and you will get the sharp end of the stick."

      • by microbox (704317) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:48AM (#46266105)
        That is just simply wrong. There are powerful intrenched interests with their misinformation campaign [merchantsofdoubt.org], and a bunch of sheep who think they're rebels for repeating the tortured logic of others, but that is really the sum total of the opposition to change.

        And make no mistake, change is coming. The USA, Germany and China are leading the way in creating alternative sources of energy. The Germans and northern Europeans in particular are figuring out the engineering problems of using renewables on the grid. And the price of renewables is decreasing exponentially. Wind is now cheaper than every fossil fuel save gas, and will be cheaper than gas in five or so years. Solar is a little behind, but exponential is exponential.

        Sure there are problems left to solve, but don't let anyone fool you into thinking that nobody cares. In fact, some of the smartest engineers and scientists in the world are figuring this out, and there is plenty of government and industry money to do "right" by the next generation.

        If there's one major problem, its that the issue is a political football, but in the end, the smart money will move on, and the fluff heads will be left with wild conspiracy theories about how coal/oil was better all along, and a bunch of communists destroyed a perfectly good industry.
        • by jez9999 (618189) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:12AM (#46266229) Homepage Journal

          The Germans and northern Europeans in particular are figuring out the engineering problems of using renewables on the grid.

          Use nuclear. Problem solved.

          • And I guess you have a clear and viable plan on what to to with the waste?

            • by Xest (935314)

              Waste isn't the issue, it's the cost. Look at the problems the UK has had with trying to get a new nuclear plant built. Unless you're willing to let the handful of companies with the expertise to build a safe modern nuclear plant rip you the fuck off then you can't have one.

              The British government had to agree to let them double the already insanely high energy price per kilowatt in the UK to get a part Chinese bid to agree to build the plant after all the other bidders such as France's EDF dropped out. So f

            • by u38cg (607297)
              Build costs of long term management into contracts and use proven low-waste technology. Next!
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by operagost (62405)

          You'll have to excuse the great unwashed masses (sometime called "the middle class") for being a bit skeptical after being told by our Dear Leader that with a cap and trade system, electricity prices would "necessarily skyrocket". Every cost for the transition from coal and oil is being dropped on the (former) middle class in every scenario.

          Let's try doing the hard thing, putting the greatest minds to work figuring out how to do this without violating the civil rights of the people, instead of coming up wi

          • by microbox (704317) on Monday February 17, 2014 @01:40PM (#46269027)
            The USA has implemented cap and trade over 20% of its economy [rggi.org]. Energy prices have come down in this part of the USA relative to the rest of the country, for both factories and consumers. Furthermore, the part of the USA has seen relative economic growth compared to the rest of the USA. It is because of RGGI, similar carbon regulations in other parts of the world, and the history of such programs, that economists think that the cost of climate action will be negligible. The true alarmists are the ones preaching economic Armageddon.
        • Wind is now cheaper than every fossil fuel save gas, and will be cheaper than gas in five or so years. Solar is a little behind, but exponential is exponential.

          Just curious, is that cheaper with subsidies, or without subsidies?

          Where I live solar is easily worth it after the 80% subsidies by the Federal and State governments. Not so much if you have to pay full price....

        • And the price of renewables is decreasing exponentially.

          I don't think you know what "exponential" means.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      They're already there. You have no point.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vermonter (2683811)
      And Republican politicians have no interest in an actual free market or personal rights. Welcome to American politics, where politicians say they are for something, but are really just out for their own self interest.
    • We have the same problem with European Carp and Aussie native fish, Carp also "eat" river banks, causing trees to fall over and (in Oz at least) this causes rivers and creeks to widen an lose shade, dramatically increasing water loss thru evaporation. The Aussie experience with carp shows that a dam will not stop them, at best it will slow their spread. This is the first time I've heard this story but a dam to "stop carp" sounds like white elephant to me, about as useful and environmentally sound as a rabb
  • Not a Weapon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem (1590553) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:20AM (#46265941)

    It's not a weapon if it cannot be wielded. If it is just lashing about indiscriminately then it's not a weapon.

  • by DougF (1117261) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:21AM (#46265945)
    So, the US's Sec of State is self-admitting guilt of committing crimes against the entire planet, leaving the USA now liable in international court for the costs of AGW? I knew the US liberals were self-destructive, but this takes the cake.
    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      Not at all. Up to the threshold of dangerous climate change, there is no blame. But, now, China is pushing us past that threshold. It is countries with growing emissions that must be forced to pay reparations for climate change induced damage.
      • by swillden (191260)

        Not at all. Up to the threshold of dangerous climate change, there is no blame. But, now, China is pushing us past that threshold. It is countries with growing emissions that must be forced to pay reparations for climate change induced damage.

        And at the same time we can stunt their economic growth and the US and Europe can maintain their dominant economic positions! Win win! Well, except for the fact that the developed world likes the cheap goods from the developing world, and those would get more expensive as well.

  • The "jump the shark" moment for "WMD" was when the surviving Boston bomber was charged with using a WMD. Horrible, yes. Evil, yes. However, it's not a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon. I'm wondering how long it will before assault rifles or 3d printed handguns will be labeled "WMDs."
    • The Boston Bomber was charged with a law that was on the books prior to 9/11 that used the term. It's kinda awkward, but it certainly wasn't prosecutors trying to abuse the term for PR reasons.

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      I get what you are saying, There WAS mass destruction, by definition it makes sense. however I do see the point you are making its like the democrats claiming racism when one disagrees with obama, If you throw a word around too often for the wrong reasons, it loses its oomph
    • The "jump the shark" moment for "WMD" was when the surviving Boston bomber was charged with using a WMD.

      His improvised kitchen device should have been termed a weapon of mass carnage. Note how the official term focuses more on loss of structure than on human life.

      Why the present example jumps the shark is that while global warming might be a supreme menace, it has not yet to my knowledge been successfully weaponized.

      In this case, we're really dealing with an Apocalyptic Horseman of Mass Resettlement, if th

  • Indonesia is a country largely populated by members of a certain religion. Some members of that religion want to kill us. Maybe this is strategic...

    George W. Bush: "My boys at the oil and coal companies will give you the best kind of start, and you sure as hell won't stop them now. So let's get going, there's no other choice. God willing, we will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health, through the purity and essence of our natural... fluids. God bless you all."

  • So global warming is real, scientists agree.

    What to do about it? Please show me the scientific and engineering studies that prove a particular course of action is appropriate. I am tired of the knee-jerk reaction that blithely assumes reducing carbon emissions is the way to go. There are many possible alternatives, including doing nothing at all. A proper cost/benefit analysis is needed, before we decide to forcibly relocate everyone back to caves.

    • Re:Alright already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:53AM (#46266135)

      Alright, so driving at 120 MPH on the highway increases our chance of accidents, scientists agree.

      What to do about it? Please show me the scientific and engineering studies that prove that a particular course of action is appropriate. I am tired of the knee-jerk reaction that blithely assumes reducing velocity is the way to go. There are many possible alternatives, including doing nothing at all. A proper cost/benefit analysis is needed, before we decide to make everyone walk everywhere.

      • by Tokolosh (1256448)

        My problem with this is that only a single option for global warming mitigation is considered - reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

        The fact that there might be other alternatives completely escapes those who prefer to argue about who is going to pay for the option which has been reflexively selected.

    • by Zocalo (252965)

      A proper cost/benefit analysis is needed, before we decide to forcibly relocate everyone back to caves.

      But that's just it. If climate change brings about a global rise in sea levels then some people, like those in Indonesia, would just love to have a cave because at least it's drier than the ocean they'll have been relocated back to.

    • by bunratty (545641)
      Also, no one is proposing we move back to caves. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions means getting power from sources such as the sun, and improving energy efficiency. It means moving into the high-tech 21st century, not back to low-tech times. It's what we need to do anyway, because no matter how much we'd like them to, fossil fuels will run out some day.
      • Great. But those energy sources can't meet the demand yet, and the only zero emissions energy source that will work right now is vetoed by the environmentalists every time it's mentioned.

        Do they want to really solve this problem or not?

      • by Tokolosh (1256448)

        Reducing carbon dioxide emissions...

        Is that the only idea you have? No wonder the sky is falling.

    • by xtal (49134)

      That's the comedic joke. There are no real options.

      The only one I can see really having any effect is a mass deployment of existing nuclear technologies, focusing the entire resources of the western world on solving the fusion problem, and a massive research project to develop super-capacitor or other high density electrical energy storage technology.

      People can shout about other alternatives, wind, solar, whatever, but none of the people shouting have training in thermodynamics. I've crunched the numbers fo

    • The cost is immaterial if the benefit is making sure coastal cities aren't completely or partially submerged, wouldn't you say? I mean, relocating people in North America away from the coasts runs a monetary cost that is just incredible to contemplate.

      Then you've got weird weather effects coming. Places that get too little rain to grow crops, or too much. Or just really unpredictable weather, so setting up agriculture is just extra difficult. That's going to cost money.

      Even things like tourism suddenly take

      • by Tokolosh (1256448)

        There is a country called the Netherlands, largely below sea level. They seem to be doing just fine.

        • Re:Alright already (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dixie_Flatline (5077) <vincent,jan,goh&gmail,com> on Monday February 17, 2014 @11:02AM (#46267225) Homepage

          Yeah, and all the best designers for dams and canals are from there, it's true. What your startlingly naive comment doesn't take into consideration is that it's ALWAYS been there, and the cities that we've built on the coasts in the last 50 years HAVEN'T been underwater. This is a new thing. They weren't designed for it.

          But sure, take the coastal cities of the world out of the equation. The costs are still enormous, and still real. Agriculture, storms, unpredictable weather, weather patterns shifting substantially (snow where there wasn't snow previously, no snow where there used to be lots of snow), coral bleaching, ocean acidification, desertification...the list is really long. This is to say nothing of the stuff that we don't even know is coming; I suspect that we've failed to capture the entirety of the problem. The things that we ALREADY know about will cost a shit-tonne of money. The stuff that we DON'T know about are going to be even worse because it'll be impossible to prepare for them in any way.

          Cost-benefit analyses really start to fall apart at this point.

          The thing is, there are lots of little things that we can do, individually and societally, that don't cost much but slowly make a big difference. They've started adding sails to really big cargo ships. It's free energy. It helps. I walk to work, drive my car very little, and try to be good about my own personal energy usage. I use less energy now than I have ever before in my life. It wasn't a step down in my quality of life in the least. I live close enough to home that I can walk home for lunch now. I have fewer, nicer things.

          Collapsing economies and cave-dwelling are a line that we've been sold by interests that have a stake in us not changing. I provide less revenue for oil companies than I used to. Because I pay a little more for better things, I don't dispose of things as often. As a consumer, I'm much less lucrative than I was 10 years ago.

    • by afxgrin (208686)

      I don't understand what difference Keystone XL plays into climate change considering the choice is between burning American, Canadian, Norwegian, Venezuelan, or Saudi oil. The demand for fossil fuel burning will only continue to increase as global population increases, if the price increases in the short term eventually the demand will outweigh the cost from increasing population and we're back to where we were. Leaks from global increases in natural gas production is probably having a greater impact on c

      • by Tokolosh (1256448)

        The solution with the least impact on our standard of living, which is also within our means to achieve is : Electric cars and electric heating sources, while investing in low or no-carbon emission sources of energy such as solar, wind, fission and fusion

        Some citations to back this up, please?

        Short of massive engineering projects to reflect heat back into space, condense carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it underground, or some other ridiculous proposal, the reduction of burning fossil fuels is the most practical and brings other benefits (except for oil producers).

        The lack of original ideas is very troubling. Let's see some out-of-box, creative thinking.

  • Gah... (Score:3, Informative)

    by conquistadorst (2759585) on Monday February 17, 2014 @08:52AM (#46266125)
    Regardless of whether or not mankind is fully, partially, or trivially responsible for climate change. Calling it a weapon of mass destruction is fully moronic. It's a distortion of reality for the sole sake of sensationalizing the issue. It's not worth tainting the argument for the sake of getting the point across.

    Now it's just a matter of time before we start arresting people for starting bonfires or driving to work. Gas guzzler, hybrid, or all electric you'll all be terrorists wielding WMDs! /tongueincheek
  • I suspect this means that the US will soon wield a nuclear or biological weapon of mass destruction, and there will be five or six decades of research and 'debate' before it's even acknowledged, must less any responsibility is assigned or measures taken to undo the damage.

  • .... fired. Read the Declaration of Independence and know we have very little legitimate government left, as teh rest have been fired via Declaration of Independence. But for reasons that can only be thuggary, they are still taking money from the people, and to do what? Preform criminal acts.

    They don't work for the people.... they need to be removed and charged with impersonating government and charged also with theft.

  • Everybody can agree the climate is changing, in a warming trend. However, the breakdown in logic is the immediate correlation that it must be human caused. The fact of the matter is the world's climate changes all the time, in massive geological cycles.

    We must be good stewards of our planet, this is also undeniable.

    The problem I have with "Global Warming" fanatics, is they have flawed logic (human caused) an then go into bizarre, egregious means to deal with it like carbon credits, and whatnot. The fact

    • by bunratty (545641)
      Arrhenius predicted global warming over 100 years ago, because carbon dioxide is emitted by burning fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means increasing it will cause warming. Please do explain how this logic is flawed.
    • by gtall (79522)

      Regardless of whether you believe climate change is caused by man's activities, it is undeniable that man has pumped a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. The direct result of this, also not contested, is that the oceans are acidifying. The result of that is lost of species at the base of the food chain. You do recall the food chain, yes? And that fucking it up at its base would result in fucking it up all the way up the chain, hence the term, food chain.

  • "We have investigated US and allied European factories and found that they constituted weapons of mass desctruction posing a threat the security and safety of the world.

    "We have declared war on these rogue factories, drones will be sent to all related company towns, and blackops have been deployed to known CEOs mountain hideaways in the Alps."

    ...one mused.

  • "Give me my $1 billion slush fund"

    Full-court press at 11.

  • It's not just a WMD, global warming causes child porn too, because... think of the children! We must give trillions to our cronies in industry in order to combat this menace!

    • No drugs or terrorism? I'm shocked, your propaganda is lacking, please report to the Minitruth for completion of your information level.

  • weather control makes for B movies just need a real weather man (not jim cantore) how much will it cost to get tom skilling (can even work his brother into the plot line)

  • However Kerry showed little patience for skeptics in his speech. 'We just don't have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,'

    Translation: "We prefer our own interest groups, the ones who got us elected! We need to pay them off with trillions of dollars of tax payer money."

    Mr. Kerry, you have no credible plan to stop climate change. The reductions you propose are laughable and utterly inadequate. If you proposed effective reductions, you'd face a rebellion from voters. Your a

    • by gtall (79522)

      So, an American administration is totally responsible for the American economy. Last we heard, the business cycle mattered. And the vaunted American people fucked themselves with buying houses they couldn't afford, flipping houses, taking equity out of their houses to gamble on the stock markets and whatever else what shiny. The Bush administration was complicit, as was Wall Street, as was the insurance industry, as were the builders, and the realtors, and the local zoning officials.

      In the mean time, indust

      • They volunteered for the damn job by running for office! You're damn right it's their problem to solve.

        Five years ago Obama told us that when we elected him, he would solve these problems.

        The fact that we're calling him out on the shit job he is doing is not Bush's fault.

        Sure the problems are hard to solve, but Obama was sold to is as a messiah. He has proven unable to live up to that billing.

  • If climate change is now a weapon of mass destruction and the US and the West are the predominate causes of it, does that mean they are guilty of war crimes (related to the WMDs)?

    • No. Why? We've had WMDs for ages and everyone knows it, but it ain't a war crime.

      It's only a crime if you want some to defend against being browbeat into submission.

      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        No. Why? We've had WMDs for ages and everyone knows it, but it ain't a war crime.

        It's only a crime if you want some to defend against being browbeat into submission.

        I was actually being sarcastic, but the reasoning goes: If climate change is happening and if climate change is a WMD, then whoever released that WMD is responsible. People have been charged with war crimes, or at least terrorism if it isn't a declared war, for releasing WMDs on a much smaller scale than climate change.

        For the US leadership to call climate change a WMD is ironic, since most fingers point back the US and its policies as a major cause of climate change.

  • So any research in climate change is now grounds to be bombed back into stone age by the US?

  • No longer content with foisting off blame and fear on terror groups, politicians, in the search for more money, begin converting climate science into the next big terror threat.

    *Facepalm*

  • If Kerry can be taken in by climate change, there can't be much to it,
  • WTF, man. Hugh Pickens dot COM is the troll of flamebaiters. Everything subject is highly polarizing while simultaneously being largely irrelevant. Enough already.

  • ... I waiting for it to be blamed on Iraq....

  • by Simonetta (207550) on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:09PM (#46267973)

    And you thought that I was going to say something vulgar and metaphorical about Mr. Kerry....

    No, I'm reminded of the atomic-pile simulation that used to be taught to kids. You remember, the one where there is a big floor filled with set mousetraps. And each trap has two ping-pong balls ~gently~ placed on the spring. A single ball is tossed in, and ~zap!~ a trap goes off, more balls are released, more traps go off, a few here and there, and then the big crescendo... balls flying everywhere.

    Climate change is like that. We are just seeing the beginning now. It's small enough that stupid people can convince themselves that it's not happening. But as the Siberian tundra melts, and the 100,000,000 year old methane stored there gets released, and the polar ice caps melt, and the changing salinity alters the north-south oceanic current flows, and the mean temperature of the tropic regions rises to 140 degrees F for an average day.... well, balls flying everywhere.

    A billion dollars here and there tossed at a global problem of this magnitude of problem is nothing. A billion dollars is about the size of the heavy-metal music industry, a heaping spoonful of the toilet paper industry, and most of the "Hello Kitty" trinket industry.

    National Geographic recently published a series of maps of what the Earth would look like in 100 or so years from now when the ice caps have melted. Indonesia was gone. John Kerry is just giving them a 'head's up" warning.

    NG also missed out on the fact that most of the earth except for the polar regions will be bright yellow instead of green. Yellow as in areas where nothing will grow and nothing will live. You probable live in one of these regions now. Best to spend the next decade ignoring the bozospeak coming from corporate and governmental entities. Instead find a place on those maps that presently has temperate weather, internet access, indoor plumbing, and civilized people.

      Move there; move your family there. And as the decades go by and all the billions of doomed people start to realize that they deserve to be in that place instead of you, well, prepare yourself to have to deal with them like they are all one big surplus giraffe.

    Gnome Sane?

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