Secretary of State John Kerry said global warming is as big a threat as terrorism in a speech in Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of coal for power plants, seeking to burnish his credential as a climate champion before deciding on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project.
Speaking over the weekend in the capital of Jakarta, the last stop on his three-nation Asia tour, Kerry called on the international community — nations and individuals — to do more now as addressing climate change required a global solution. The speech came against the backdrop of the eruption of the Mount Kelud volcano that disrupted air travel in the region and forced the cancellation of Kerry’s planned meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“We’ve seen here in Asia how extreme weather events can disrupt world trade,” Kerry said to an audience of Indonesian students and business leaders. “In today’s globalized economy, the entire world feels it.”
Without more action to combat global warming, scientists predict extreme weather events such as last year’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines will occur, Kerry said. He likened climate change to global threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“The solution is energy policy. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “Governments and international financial institutions should stop incentivizing the use of energy sources like coal and oil.”
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