US Secretary of State John Kerry has called climate change perhaps "the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," reports Reuters. Warnings over climate change have become increasingly dire from the scientific community lately, and Kerry is reportedly expected to make a series of speeches on the subject this year as the United Nations works toward an agreement that will have all member states agreeing to curb their emissions.
Kerry is expected to speak on climate change throughout the year
Kerry's metaphor extends beyond climate change's destructive potential. According to Reuters, he also said that, as with weapons of mass destruction, every country needs to act in order for there to be an impact. "Think about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It doesn't keep us safe if the United States secures its nuclear arsenal while other countries fail to prevent theirs from falling into the hands of terrorists," Kerry said. "The bottom line is this: it is the same thing with climate change. 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."
The bold warning from Kerry came Sunday during a speech in Indonesia, which could become threatened by rising sea levels. Already, the Obama administration has taken a number of actions toward preparing for and curbing climate change domestically. Its latest effort came today, at an unrelated event, when the White House announced that the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation will work together to form new fuel standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks by March 2016. The administration previously mandated increased fuel efficiency for cars and trucks beginning in 2025.
Though they're only small steps in what will need to be a much larger series of actions, Kerry's warning is among the most dramatic so far. It may be nothing, however, compared to the warning that a United Nations panel is preparing to give: in April, the panel is expected to state that climate change could become irreversible if it is not dealt with in the near future. Fortunately, UN members should begin to act soon: since 2011, members have been working toward agreeing to curb their emissions beginning in 2020, when the Kyoto Protocol ends, and details of the new agreement will be finalized next year.