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Secretary of State Kerry and Senator Boxer Remark on the IPCC Report

Posted on 28 September 2013 by John Hartz

Secretary of State John Kerry:

This is yet another wakeup call: Those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire.

Once again, the science grows clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate.

Boil down the IPCC report and here’s what you find: Climate change is real, it’s happening now, human beings are the cause of this transformation, and only action by human beings can save the world from its worst impacts.

This isn’t a run of the mill report to be dumped in a filing cabinet. This isn’t a political document produced by politicians.

It’s science.

It builds on the most authoritative assessments of knowledge on climate change produced by scientists, who by profession are conservative because they must deal in what is observable, provable and reviewable by their peers.

If this isn’t an alarm bell, then I don’t know what one is. If ever there were an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.

What one country does impacts the livelihoods of people elsewhere – and what we all do to address climate change now will largely determine the kind of planet we leave for our children and grandchildren.

With those stakes, the response must be all hands on deck. It’s not about one country making a demand of another. It’s the science itself, demanding action from all of us.

The United States is deeply committed to leading on climate change. We will work with our partners around the world through ambitious actions to reduce emissions, transform our energy economy, and help the most vulnerable cope with the effects of climate change.

We do so because this is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.

Senator Barbara Boxer:

This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Report on the latest climate science.  To read a summary of this critically important report, please click here.

In the IPCC report, the world’s leading scientists are telling us with 95 percent certainty that climate disruption is real and human activities are the primary cause.  We have seen the dangerous impacts of climate change all around us – from record high temperatures across the United States, to severe wildfires in California and other western states, to flooding of biblical proportions, to shrinking Arctic sea ice and rising sea levels.  

This landmark report underscores the importance of the Obama Administration’s efforts to curb carbon pollution, and I will do everything in my power to support the Administration in its efforts to address the dangerous impacts of climate disruption.

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Comments 1 to 16:

  1. For the record, Dana was kind enough to put together this post while I was busy working on a third edition of this week's News Roundup. It's chocked full of objective articles on the just released IPCC report.

    I invite readers to post any statements made by the world's policy makers on the IPCC report on this thread. Plesase cite source and provide a link. 

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  2. "... In reaction to the report, [EU] Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said: ''The issue is not whether to believe in climate change or not. The issue is whether to follow science or not. The day when all scientists with 100% certainty warn you against climate change, it will be too late. If your doctor was 95% sure you had a serious disease, you would immediately start looking for the cure. Why should we take bigger risks when it's the health of our planet at stake?"..." [source]

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you for your contribution.

  3. Prof Sir Brian Hoskins, from Imperial College London, told BBC News: "We are performing a very dangerous experiment with our planet, and I don't want my grandchildren to suffer the consequences of that experiment."

    IPCC climate report: humans 'dominant cause' of warming

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you for your contribution.

  4. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz:

    "I believe that the report is a watershed; we have clear evidence from our climate scientists that global warming is happening and that we as humans are playing a critical role, which is the underpinning of the President's Climate Action Plan. The plan places a strong emphasis on mitigating the risks of climate change through further investments in clean technologies aligning with our all-of-the-above energy strategy. The President's plan also brings forward a strong focus on the need to prepare for climate change because we are already experiencing the anticipated impacts of global warming,"


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    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Added source per request.

    [JH] Thank you for your contribution.

  5. Congressperson Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement.

    Chairman Smith: “Lobbying by several nations to influence the latest IPCC report demonstrates that these reports have become more political than scientific. The ‘summary for policymakers’ released this morning in Stockholm appears to be designed to provide cover for excessive regulations and carbon taxes. There is little doubt the Obama administration will try to use this report to support additional costly regulations. But even the EPA has admitted that unilateral action by the U.S., including its recent energy regulations, will result in negligible changes to our carbon dioxide emissions and will have no discernible impact on the global temperature.“The IPCC also has had to backtrack from previous reports in several important areas. The report backs away from claims about a connection between climate change and severe weather. The report states ‘low confidence’ in any connection between human-driven climate change and increased droughts or hurricanes. Rather than releasing politically-influenced opinions, the IPCC should let the science speak for itself. I look forward to reviewing the actual scientific assessment of the peer-reviewed literature.”

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you for your contribution. It helps us track the poppycock being spread by climate deniers.

  6. (-snip-).

    Smith is Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. 

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Discussing somone's religion is prohibited.

  7. Nothing short of a Manhattan style approach to dealing with our CO2 emissions, not just from fossil fuel burning, but land use as well, will do. And it isn’t just a matter of reducing our CO2 emissions; there's the issue of energy requirements - from non-fossil fuels of course - needed sequester several thousand gigatonnes of excess CO2 to get us back down to 350 ppm. Bold statements are all very well; bold action is another matter and the political gridlock in Washington is all but guaranteed to prevent any real action from happening. And unfortunately, if the US doesn’t act, then it's unlikely any of the other major polluters will.

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  8. We can expect the deniers to still deny and the contrarians to still be contrary to mainstream science.  The fight will go on!  In the U. S. we are seeing the result of our failed education system in not teaching critical thinking.  The republicans are blind to facts and the truth, as they have been for a few generations.  Maybe the AR5 will help.  Let's hope it does.

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  9. Perhaps  Congressperson Lamar Smith can publish  his latest readings in relation to his review of the 'actual scientific assesment of the peer-reviewed literature." 

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  10. @Moderator #5 I think it's necessary you clarify whether every Congressperson Lamar Smith opinion is "poppycock" because there's some diverse opinions in it, the obvious being quantiication of "unilateral action by the U.S." as opposed to a global agreement in which the other big coal burners are included.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Cong Smith's pontification about the US not proceeding alone tells me that he believes the U.S. should relinquish its role as a world leader. From my perspective as a patriotic American, such a policy is poppycock. 

  11. @ClimateChangeExtremist #7 You have quantity mistake. Total current CO2 in air 400 ppmv = 3,120 gigatonnes, which is 390 Gt above 350 ppmv. 

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  12. And yet, with a stroke of the pen, the politicians could have a profound effect on the problem.  Simply put in Hansen's Tax and Dividend.  The economics will take care of the rest.  What is so hard for them to understand here.  Wasn't Kerry a member of the GOP before Obama hired him.  Perhaps he should go and talk with his former colegues.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] John Kerry was indeed a Senator from Massachusetts. He was also the Democrat's nominee for President in 2003, when George W. Bush won re-election. You can rest assurred that Kerry has communicated and will continue to communicate with his former Senate colleagues on a wide variety of subjects including what to do about climate change.  

  13. William@12

    No. Kerry was never a member of the GOP or Republican Party. His first campaign for national office was in 1972. He ran as a Democrat and lost to Paul W. Cronin, the Republican candidate.

    You may be thinking of Robert Gates, President Obama's first Secretary of Defense, a hold-over from the Bush presidency.

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  14. The BBC carried a series of comments from notable figures including leading UK politicians, environmentalists and scientists (with a few in denial).

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Thank you.

  15. It's been interesting to see some of the reader comments on sites like the UK Guardian and PBS Newshour. The climate denier trolls seem to be out in full force. But none of them appears to have actually read the Summary Report for Policymakers. As an American I am embarrassed that someone as ignorant about science as Lamar Smith chairs the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

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  16. William at @12

    "And yet, with a stroke of the pen, the politicians could have a profound effect on the problem"

    As could voters with a check of the correct ballot box or we emitters by not flying, travelling so much and by installing renewables.. and yet ??

    Professor Kevin Anderson (Tyndall Climate Centre) speaks to the latter here

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