Kerry: Climate science 'screaming at us'

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryHow the US could help Australia develop climate action Equilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power No. 2 State Department official to travel to China amid tensions MORE on Friday called for "ambitious, concrete action" to combat climate change after a government agency released new data about global temperatures.

"What’s surprising is that anyone is surprised that 2014 was the hottest year on record. The science has been screaming at us for a long, long time," Kerry said Friday in a statement released by the State Department.


Kerry said historic temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weathers events like torrential rain and droughts "are having devastating economic, security and health impacts across the planet."

His comments were in response to a new report released by the National Climate Data Center that said, in part, that 2014 was the warmest year globally since temperatures on land and ocean surfaces were first recorded in 1880.

Kerry's statement came during the tail end of a two-day visit to Paris, which he scheduled after the Obama administration came under fire for not sending any high-level U.S. officials to the city's anti-terror unity rally over the weekend. At least 40 world leaders and more than a million people attended.

While the White House admitted early this week that it erred in not sending a higher-profile U.S. representative than the ambassador to Sunday's rally, which came after last week's deadly attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper, no top U.S. officials have apologized for their absence.

"I think we certainly got the substance right, but it would have been great to participate in the parade and we're delighted Secretary Kerry is there now," Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, said Thursday morning on CNN.

Kerry, who has helped coordinate the Obama administration's response to challenges such as Ebola and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has repeatedly issued strong warnings on climate change, saying in September the three issues should be handled with the same "immediacy."

Kerry said the report is "just another sound in a steady drumbeat that is growing increasingly more urgent."

"The question is when and how the world will respond," Kerry said.