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Earth Science

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

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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  • Not a Weapon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RivenAleem ( 1590553 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:20AM (#46265941)

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

  • Re:Your backyard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:32AM (#46265991)
    Well given that the Chinese carp situation in Michigan probably should be a more important priority for the US than hamstringing human civilization in the name of global warming, I really don't see the stupidity.
  • by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:32AM (#46265993)

    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."

  • Re:Shit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by microbox ( 704317 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:51AM (#46266121)

    I guess I am if I throw another log in the wood stove today...

    Burning a log is just part of the normal carbon cycle. You do know that the CO2 in the log returns to the atmosphere anyway, right? Maybe it would take 10 years instead of 5 minutes; however, the CO2 remains out of the carbon cycle only if you bury the wood underground.

    The whole point is that CO2 was sequestered out of the atmosphere over billions of years, and stored underground in oil and coal. Now we're dredging that up and returning it to the atmosphere.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17, 2014 @09:53AM (#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.

  • Re:Your backyard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:01AM (#46266175) Homepage
    you clearly have no idea what carp do to a water system. Where I live they took over in the past 30 years, 90% of the normal fish are gone, It really is a major problem and here we have a simple way to keep them from in essence destroying all the fish in our biggest natural waterways. I was actually unaware of the issue in the OPs area but as someone who knows first hand how damaging carp can be, I have to side with him. Why should we focus on the large picture when we cant even focus on the small (comparatively speaking)
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:01AM (#46266177) Homepage Journal

    Yes, they're slow, but the effects can locally be violent as change happens. Warming of the ocean's waters could add energy to storms, or increase their frequency. I'm not saying Manila will be underwater next year due to the rising oceans, only that climate change increases the chances that it will be hit hard by a typhoon.

    But as someone else pointed out below, if it can't be wielded, it's not a weapon. It could have the same destructive effects as a weapon, but it's not a weapon.

  • 1) Why were the hippies the only ones that were capable of seeing what a threat there is?
    2) Why are people in need of convincing? There's a lot of very convincing science (done by non-hippies) available.
    3) How did they hijack it, exactly? Are you the kind of person that accuses others of being 'fake geeks' or 'fake gamers'?

    We wouldn't have this problem if people and government were less interested in short-term profit than long-term health. Don't pin it on a small segment of a smaller sub-culture.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:27AM (#46266313) Journal

    if it can't be wielded, it's not a weapon.

    Just because it can't be wielded doesn't mean it can't be used as a tool of warfare.

    More likely, climate change will be the cause of warfare, not a weapon thereof.

  • by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:39AM (#46266395) Homepage Journal

    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 with half-asses "solutions" and imposing them at the point of a gun.

  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:50AM (#46266499)
    Now we just need to convince the Arctic ice [], Antarctic ice [], and Greenland ice sheet [] to stop their damn melting. Please do tell them about the fraudulent data they're using.
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @10:57AM (#46266587)
    I agree that correlation is not causation, but greenhouse gases do cause warming, and the increase in greenhouse gases is due to human activity. That is causation.
  • by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @11:04AM (#46266657)
    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.
  • Re:Ahh Kerry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Monday February 17, 2014 @11:52AM (#46267139) Journal

    Sounds like you are falling for an obvious diversionary tactic. [] Kerry is in Indonesia. Indonesians are pissed at the USA for spying on them. Kerry decides to talk about climate change and lobs around hyperbola like "weapon of mass destructions threating your way of life!!11ONE!!!1"

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

    by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <vincent.jan.goh@ ... m minus math_god> on Monday February 17, 2014 @12:02PM (#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.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27