John Kerry took time out from saving the Middle East yesterday to save the entire planet.
Addressing an audience of students in Indonesia Kerry tried to scare the crap out of them by claiming that climate change was the world's most fearsome weapon of mass destruction, to which the students replied, "hey, don't look at us, we're just students. Wasn't us that messed the nest!"
Let's linger a moment on Mr. Kerry's metaphor. Weapons are tools we use to coerce, intimidate, threaten, dominate, subjugate, and sometimes eliminate our rivals or potential rivals. Who in this world is wielding this weapon of mass destruction? Since the US and China between them account for over 30% of greenhouse gases, it would be safe to say that they have the greatest stockpiles.
So are these stockpiles in safe hands or are they in the hands of rogue states? Are the leading proliferators of this weapon working to reduce their stockpiles or are they engaged in an arms race?
Stats reveal that it's more of an arms race. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Who are these states threatening with their massive emissions? Why everyone on the entire planet, of course.
Because America has from the beginning been in thrall to a reckless model of exploitation of the natural world that puts short-term profit before long-term sustainability, and for too much of its recent history China has been aping that model.
It's not up to the children of Indonesia to fix that; it's up to the US and China. So what new initiatives did Kerry announce that would begin to reduce the threat posed by this most fearsome weapon of mass destruction? Well, great news for the planet, folks; Kerry announced that China and the US have agreed to "intensify information-sharing and policy discussions."
In other words, they'll just add more hot air.