Secretary of State John Kerry in Norfolk on Climate Change

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

climate change photo climate
change_zps8spwc58r.pngby Dan Sullivan

Secretary Kerry made what Virginia Democrats have shied from for a number of years during his visit to Norfolk this morning: a call to local radio host Tony Macrini, whose audience often challenges science and logic. On this Marine Corps Birthday, Macrini, a Viet Nam veteran, enjoyed the sailor’s visit.

Offered the opportunity, Kerry pointed out that Norfolk is on the cusp of climate change due to sea-level rise. The navy base is already making plans and being affected by it. During heavy rains at high tide, the Secretary pointed out, Norfolk already experiences problems. One of the reasons Kerry came to Norfolk is that climate change presents major challenges to national security.

Don’t tell our Republican-controlled state legislature, but Old Dominion University has done some terrific work on the subject of climate change. Plus, military research has shown the threat multipliers that come with climate change; the consequences of droughts, huge glacier melting, water conflicts, and major dislocation of people from environmental changes result in mass migration.
“We’re already seeing what happens as a result of mass migration as a result of conflict in the Middle East and what the impact is has on Europe. You can imagine what happens if food supplies are threatened, water supplies are threatened. And all of these are legitimate concerns…” – Secretary Kerry
Macrini pointed out that many people accept climate change as a scientific fact and that some of it is a consequence of human activity, but:

Macrini: “… as you know, this is a con … (hesitation) this is a talk radio station and there are many hosts who will poo-poo that and say that’s not the case. What persuades you that climate change is real, is going to pose a security challenge to us, and is cause by human beings? What persuades you, sir?”
Kerry: “The science. Very simply, I mean we all learned in high school basic science. We learned about the earth rotating on its axis. We learned about the sun rising in the east, setting in the west. We learned about the moon, and sun and stars and the laws of science. You know, relative motion and so forth. Well science is telling us; scientists all around the world are telling us that this is happening. Well it’s happening because life itself on earth exists because of something called the greenhouse effect. We have this layer up in the atmosphere that contains a certain amount of heat and as we are now filling that layer and thickening that layer with human…with gasses produced by human activity, coal fired power plants, so forth, that’s thickening and that contains heat. And that’s what’s acting, just like a greenhouse in somebody’s nursery or backyard, whatever.”
Kerry went on to point out that last year a group of 16 retired 3 and 4 star flag and general officers from all the services who make up the Center for Naval Analysis Advisory Board released a report saying that the accelerating national security impacts of climate change are something we all have to pay attention to and deal with. It is science and common sense that Kerry says drive us on this and people need to pay attention.

With the Secretary’s time waning, Macrini boiled it down to: what are we going to do about it, how will it positively or negatively affect the economy of the United States and how much can we do if we don’t have (countries) like China, who got caught “fudging the books,” and India acting in good faith and getting on board without hurting our economy?
"Well actually, not to defend China because they do a lot of things that bother us, but the fact is that China is the one that discovered this discrepancy and China reported it publicly. That never would have happened five years ago. But we’ve been negotiating with China and China has come on board and has actually become a partner in helping urge other countries to engage in countering climate change.
“So you asked the big question, ‘What do we do about it and what’s the impact on the economy?’
“The answer is that all of the solutions to climate change are ready made. They’re there and improving every day. It’s called clean energy. It’s alternative energy. Renewable energy. And the United States is a leader in this. We are now…we’ve increased our wind production by threefold; we’ve increased our solar production by twentyfold; we’re the best technology innovators in the world. 
“And so, it we grab this baton and run with it, we’re going to be able to actually lead the world in producing the technologies, selling them to other countries, and creating millions of jobs in the doing of this. That’s happening now. The fastest growing, one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy is in clean energy and alternative energy. And we have an amazing number of jobs and companies that are growing now as a consequence of this investment.
“So the key is to transition away from carbon, from a carbon-based economy into a clean-energy based economy. That’s what other countries are trying to do and we should be the world’s leader in that. If we are, this is the largest market in the history of human beings. It’s bigger than the tech market of the 1990’s and we can create an unbelievable number of jobs, make a lot of people wealthy, create a lot of options in the job market, and be the world’s leader at the same time.”

With time running out, Macrini pointed out that he, like the Secretary, is a Viet Nam veteran and:
“I just want to take this opportunity; I’ve never spoken to you before; I’ll probably never speak to you again. I want to thank you for all you did to end the war in Viet Nam and all the lives you probably helped save.
“Thank-you very much sir.”
“Thank-you, sir…thank-you Tony and have a good day.”

And with that, maybe some Virginia Democrats will follow Kerry’s lead and be bold enough to challenge conventional Virginia “wisdom.”