Climate change a WMD?

Lauren Schneiderman

Secretary of State John Kerry drove home a hard line on the threats of climate change Sunday, saying they rank as high as terrorism threats.

"When I think about the array ... of global threats, think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction -- all challenges that know no borders. The reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them," Kerry said in a speech at the American Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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The speech begins a climate blitz by Kerry, who said he will "engage in a series of public and private discussions on the urgency of addressing climate change -- particularly on the national security implications and the economic opportunities."

Kerry pledged to put climate change front and center in all U.S. diplomatic efforts. As of this week, Kerry said he will instruct all chiefs of missions at U.S. embassies across the globe to "make climate change a top priority and use all the tools of diplomacy that they have at their disposal."

Adding weight to his message, Kerry went so far as to call the changing climate itself a weapon.

"In a sense, climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction," Kerry said.

Starting with Jakarta, Kerry plans to call on the world to tackle climate change, and his remarks painted a uphill battle for the globe in the years ahead.

"It’s not an exaggeration to say to you that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk," Kerry said to Jakarta, which he said is on the front line of the climate change battle.

Offering a stark contrast to the comments flooding political talk shows in the U.S. on Sunday, Kerry made a detailed, direct argument for action.

"The science of climate change is leaping out at us like a scene from a 3-D movie," Kerry said. "And let there be no doubt in anybody's mind that the science is absolutely certain."

Kerry took a jab at the climate deniers in Congress, saying that he and President Obama don't have time to meet with the "Flat Earth Society."

"We certainly should not allow more time to be wasted by those who want to sit around debating whose responsibility it is to deal with this threat, while we come closer and closer to the point of no return," Kerry said.

While Kerry said the administration will not wait to debate the fundamentals of climate change with lawmakers, his speech comes on the heels of a new pitch to Congress.

Obama on Friday revealed his proposal to create a $1 billion climate change "resiliency fund" that would help communities hit by global warming. The new fund will be detailed in Obama's 2015 budget and would need to be approved by Congress.

Obama announced the fund during his visit to California, where he spoke on the record drought facing the state.