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Climate change is 'beyond doubt': Kerry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/11/2016

US Secretary of State John Kerry's latest comments on climate change have made clear the vast gulf between his administration's attitude and that of president-elect Donald Trump.

At a press conference in Wellington on Sunday Mr Kerry was asked to comment on Mr Trump's assertion during the campaign that climate change was a hoax, and that he would quit the Paris agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Kerry said he didn't want to speculate on what Mr Trump's presidency might mean.

"Everybody knows there's sometimes a divide between a campaign and governing," he said.

"I think the next administration needs to define itself on that subject."

He then went on to explain the attitude of President Barack Obama's administration.

"The world's scientific community has concluded that climate change is happening beyond any doubt, and the evidence is there for everybody to see," he said.

"The question now, and which this administration continues to address, is how to implement the Paris agreement.

"Until January 20, when this administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibilities to future generations."

Mr Kerry said he had just returned from an "awe inspiring" visit to Antarctica.

"I flew by helicopter over the whole west Antarctic ice sheet," he said.

"Should it break up and melt, as it is showing signs of doing now, it would add some 12 feet (3.6 metres) or more to current sea levels."

Mr Kerry described the impact that would have on the world, particularly low-lying island nations.

"That is an unacceptable reality to imagine, and we are seeing evidence of it all over the world," he said.

"The evidence is mounting in ways that people in public life should not dare to avoid accepting as a mandate for action."

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