Kerry slams ‘disgraceful’ climate denial

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on Tuesday said there’s a “calculated campaign of disinformation” on climate change that has stalled action on the issue and endangered the country. 

“We are living through a story of disgraceful denial, back-pedaling and delay that has brought us perilously close to a climate change catastrophe,” Kerry said.

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The Massachusetts senator’s lengthy floor speech called for the public to be “pounding on the doors of Congress” to act, and cataloged global perils such as drought, floods, wildfires, threatened coastlines, disease risks and more, noting “the danger we face could not be more real.”

“In the United States, a calculated campaign of disinformation has steadily beaten back the consensus momentum for action on climate change and replaced it with timidity by proponents in the face of millions of dollars of phony, contrived ‘talking points,’ illogical and wholly unscientific propositions and a general scorn for the truth wrapped in false threats about job loss and tax increases,” Kerry said.

Kerry’s push for a sweeping climate and energy bill collapsed in 2010. His speech comes as climate legislation remains moribund on Capitol Hill and Republicans are seeking to nix the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate emissions from power plants and factories.


It arrives on the eve of the big United Nations sustainable development summit in Brazil that will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit that then-President George H.W. Bush attended.

He said now the climate debate is in a “strange and dangerous place” that the former president would not recognize.

Kerry didn’t call out President Obama’s GOP rival by name, but Mitt Romney has appeared to waver in his belief in human-induced global warming (his campaign says he believes in the human role but doesn’t know its extent). The presumptive GOP nominee supports stripping EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, and opposes cap-and-trade proposals.

“The media hardly murmurs when a candidate for President of the United States in 2012 can walk away from previously held positions and blithely announce that the evidence is not yet there about the impact of greenhouse gases on climate,” Kerry said.

His speech says there’s a strong economic case for tackling climate change and boosting green energy and argued that what’s needed is a “transformative moment in our politics.”

“Our challenge is fundamentally political. It’s not about budgets. It’s not about regulations. It’s about leaders in the country who are unwilling to deal with the truth about climate change, and who have cowed the silent majority into submission with their contrived and concerted attacks without facts,” Kerry said.

“Future generations are counting on us,” he said.