Wellington, Nov 13: US Secretary of State John Kerry made an impassioned plea today for America to maintain action on global warming, despite the election of climate-change denier Donald Trump.
While US President-elect Trump has labelled climate change a hoax and threatened to pull out of the Paris emissions deal, Kerry said most Americans wanted the problem addressed. "We will wait to see how the next administration addresses this but I believe we're on the right track and this is a track that the American people are committed to," Kerry told reporters on a trip to New Zealand.
"The majority of the American people believe that climate change is in fact happening and want to see us address it." Trump has pledged to ditch Washington's climate change policies, causing consternation among diplomats leading global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Kerry was hopeful Trump would not follow through on his fiery campaign rhetoric. "Everybody knows that there's sometimes a divide between a campaign and the governing and I think the next administration needs to define itself on that subject," he said. Kerry was speaking after an "awe-inspiring" visit to Antarctica, where he took a helicopter ride to view the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
"That ice sheet alone, should it break up and melt, as it is showing signs of doing now, would add some 12 feet or more to the current sea level," he said. He said scientists in the frozen continent showed him the work they were doing to assess the impact of climate change.
Kerry said it reinforced his conviction that action was needed and he would take that message to UN climate talks in Morocco next week. "Until January 20, when this administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibility to future generations to be able to address this threat to life itself on the planet," he said.