KERRY SAYS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE IS A THREAT TO U.S.
By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post:
Calling himself “a passionate advocate” for energy policy, Sen. John Kerry said Thursday thatclimate changewas among the top international threats facing the United States, cheering environmentalists and disappointing oil industry officials, who have been watching how his confirmation as secretary of state could affect the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In his opening statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry said that American foreign policy “is defined by life-threatening issues like climate change,” along with political unrest in Africa and human trafficking across the globe. Kerry, the panel’s outgoing chairman, has made the issue of global warming central to his career in public service. The Massachusetts Democrat has traveled repeatedly to international climate negotiations and pushed in the Senate — unsuccessfully — for a limit on national greenhouse gas emissions.
Later this year, the State Department must decide whether to grant TransCanada a presidential permit to build the 1,700-mileKeystone XL pipeline extension, which would carry heavy crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to America’s Gulf Coast refineries. Climate activists warn that the project would be devastating to the planet, while proponents say it would boost the nation’s energy security and generate short-term construction jobs.
Referring to the pipeline during the hearing, Kerrysaid that “it would not be long before it crosses my desk. But hedid not offer his opinion on the project. He responded more forcefully, however, when Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) argued that stricter environmental regulations would harm the economy but have little impact on global climate.
“In this tight budget environment, with so many competing American priorities, I would ask you to give considerable thought into limiting significantly resources that would not help us as an economy, not help us as a country, and not help us globally in perhaps the efforts you might be pursuing,” Barrasso said.
Kerry shot back: “The solution to climate change is energy policy. You want to do business and do it well in America, we got to get into the energy race.” He cited California and his own state of Massachusetts as places where clean energy and energy efficiency are “growing faster than any other sector… This is a job creator.”
Noting that U.S. communities broke heat and fire records last year and suffered record-high damages from superstorm Sandy,” Kerry said: “If we can’t see the downside of spending that money and risking lives for all the changes that are taking place, to agriculture, to our communities, the ocean and so forth, we’re ignoring what science is telling us. So I will be a passionate advocate on this, but not based on ideology but based on facts, based on science.”
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