John Kerry seizes on Earth Day’s climate message

By John Parnell

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Earth Day statement tells us more about his intentions for the remainder of his four year term than it does about the event itself.

After returning from Vietnam to campaign against the war, and rub shoulders with John Lennon, Kerry also attended the first Earth Day at a rally in Boston in 1970.

Fast forward four decades and Kerry is now front and centre of efforts within the Obama Administration to tackle the climate challenge.

From murmurs of a carbon tax, more efforts through environmental regulation and cooperation with China, the shift in momentum on climate change has been noticeable since Obama’s second term began.

Kerry seized on the event’s climate change theme to reiterate that it will continue to be part of the agenda as he travels the world in his capacity as Secretary of State.

In 1970 the very first Earth Day was broken up by the authorities in Boston. Roll on 43 years and its principles now have backing from the very top (read the full message below).

Secretary Kerry has a 43 year long track record in environmental campaigning (Source: Flickr/dbking)

John Kerry’s Earth Day statement in full: 

The United States joins countries around the world today in commemorating Earth Day. Ever since I was involved in the first Earth Day in Massachusetts, way back in 1970, this has always been a day to reflect on our environmental challenges and our responsibility to safeguard our God-given natural resources on a fragile planet we share with the rest of humanity and which we must protect for future generations.

This year’s Earth Day theme, the Faces of Climate Change, puts a special focus on the very real impact climate change has on people everywhere, and demonstrates just how clearly connected we all are. 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 generations to come.

As was clear in President Obama’s second inaugural address and in his State of the Union message, the United States is committed to meeting this challenge head on, working in cooperation 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.

Dealing responsibly with the clear and present danger of climate change was a focus of my recent trip to China, and it is a challenge I will be engaging to meet everywhere I travel as Secretary of State. If ever there was an issue that demanded greater cooperation, partnership, and committed diplomacy, this is it.

The science is screaming at all of us and demands action. From the far reaches of Antarctica’s Ross Sea to tropical wetlands in Southeast Asia, we have a responsibility to safeguard and sustainably manage our planet’s natural resources, and the United States remains firm in its commitment to addressing global environmental challenges.

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