Kerry warns Indonesia of climate change

February 17, 2014 - 12:00:00 am
JAKARTA: US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Indonesians yesterday that climate change could threaten their “entire way of life” as he called for all nations to do more to stop global warming.

Speaking to students, Kerry derided sceptics of the view that human activity causes global warming as “shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues” and he said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to “hijack” the climate debate.

Aides said the US secretary of state had chosen Indonesia for the first of what is to be a series of speeches on the topic this year partly because as an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands it is particularly at risk from rising sea levels.

“Because of climate change, it’s no secret that today Indonesia of the most vulnerable countries on Earth,” Kerry said in speech at a high-tech US-funded cultural centre at a Jakarta mall.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk,” he added.

Kerry’s public push takes place against the backdrop of a negotiation among nearly 200 nations about a possible new global treaty on climate change that is scheduled to be agreed next year and to address greenhouse gas emissions from 2020.

In Beijing on Friday, Kerry announced that China and the United States, the world’s largest emitters of such gases, had agreed to intensify information-sharing and policy discussions on their plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.  

US officials made clear they hope that the example of the two countries, historically on different sides of the debate, working together might inspire other nations to do more to combat climate change.

Despite evidence that human activities that emit carbon dioxide contribute to climate change, some sceptics believe a rise in global temperatures is due to natural variability or other non-human factors. Others question whether temperatures are in fact rising.