Climate ‘may be world’s most fearsome weapon’

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Climate change may be the world’s “most fearsome” weapon of mass destruction and urgent action is needed to combat it, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

In a speech to Indonesian students, civic leaders and government officials in Jakarta, he compared those who deny its existence or question its causes to people who insist the Earth is flat.

Mr Kerry accused climate change deniers of using shoddy science to delay measures needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at the risk of imperilling the planet.

He also went after those who continue to dispute who is responsible for such emissions, arguing that everyone and every country must take responsibility and act immediately.

“We simply don’t have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation,” he said, referring to what he called “big companies” that “don’t want to change and spend a lot of money” to act to reduce the risks.

“We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts,” Mr Kerry told the audience gathered at a US Embassy-run American Centre in a Jakarta shopping mall.

“Nor should we allow any room for those who think that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits.”

“The science is unequivocal, and those who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand,” Mr Kerry said. “We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”