03/10/2014 06:18 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Climate Chatter: Kerry Statements and the Waffling Winds of Changing Positions


Sen. John McCain embraces his then-Senate colleague, John Kerry, during his confirmation hearing for secretary of state. When it comes to climate change, the two men sometimes embrace the same policy, sometimes not. (Flickr/glynlowe some rights reserved)

A continuing series on what folks in the public sphere

have said about climate change in recent days.

The U.S. secretary of state has been circling the globe, for the most part laboring to stifle the winds of war but also taking time to get a few sparks going on slowing climate change. The reviews from two of his former colleagues on the Hill have not been all that flattering.

I wanted to start right here, in Jakarta, because this city -- this country -- this region -- is really on the front lines of climate change. It's not an exaggeration to say to you that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk.


--Secretary of State John Kerry in a speech in Indonesia, Feb. 2014

Leading the way toward progress on this issue [of climate change] is the right role for the United States. ... We're talking about the future of our earth and of humanity. We need to elevate the environment in everything we do.


--Secretary Kerry, March 2014

I've decided to make climate change the subject of my first Policy Guidance as Secretary of State. ...


[Climate change] ... isn't just a challenge, it's also an incredible opportunity. And the Policy Guidance I'm issuing today is an important step in the right direction.


One thing's for sure: there's no time to lose.


--Secretary Kerry, March 2014

So [Sec. Kerry] has to go over to Asia and talk about climate change and say it's the most important issue. Hello? On what planet does he reside?


--Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a radio interview, Feb. 2014

If kerrey (sic) believes his global warming speech it is a terrifying prospect for American policy. He is making policy in a fantasy world.


-- Newt Gingrich via @newtgingrich in Twitter response to Kerry's speech

I guess McCain and Gingrich would find the next two statements equally fantastical.

Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. ... We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great.


--a U.S. senator, in a 2007 speech

[O]ur country must take action to address climate change. ... If enough of us demand action from our leaders, we can spark the innovation we need.


--a U.S. representative, in a 2008 ad campaign

Funny thing:

The first quote is from none other than Senator McCain from a speech in 2007. And the second is from Newt Gingrich.

I can't help but wonder -- what do they really believe? It's so hard to know.

Others in the Series

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 1

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 2

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 3

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 4

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 5

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 6

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 7

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 8

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 9

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 10

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 11

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 12

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 13

• Climate Change Chatter, Issue 14

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