John Kerry Is Lucky Enough to See Antartica Before It Melts

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

John Kerry escaped to Antartica on Friday for a two-day trip, becoming the highest ranking US official to visit the melting continent.

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While Kerry did not comment on the new president-elect of the United States or on Trump’s belief that China created global warming, the Secretary of State warned that if you care about cutting down on emissions and saving out planet, you might have to march in the streets for your cause. Kerry emphasized the possibility that Antartica’s ice melting could eventually raise sea levels globally.

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Kerry supports the Paris climate agreement, which he called “the single most important step we could take at this moment to limit the warming of our planet and limit the warming for generations to come.” President-elect Trump wants to pull out of the agreement, which Obama called “an ambitious and far-reaching solution to this looming crisis.” It would cut use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in air-conditioners and refrigerators, on a worldwide level. HFCs trap heat at 1,000 times the rate as other greenhouse gases.

The Paris climate agreement has already been implemented, which means the United States can’t officially back out of it. Trump, however, could theoretically not honor the agreement.

“We haven’t won the battle yet,” Kerry told a crowd of climate researchers in Antartica.

While it’s unusual for non-scientists to visit the chilly continent, Kerry is a friend to the environment. In October, he worked with twenty-four countries and the European Union to establish the largest marine sanctuary in Antarctica’s Ross Sea.

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Kerry’s a lucky guy. Who knows how many future American leaders will get to see the continent before it disappears?

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[PBS News Hour]

Eve Peyser was the night editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

usingthisonesimpletrick
Usingthisonesimpletrick

Let me say that climate change is real and is being caused, at least to some degree, by human activities. In Earth’s history, however, there has been far more time with no ice than there has with.

We do not want to see what we have built in the last few hundred years be destroyed, but earth warming is not in and if itself a bad thing. The health of the planet, per se, will never be in jeopardy; what we have created as a result of choices we have made is.

I would love to see discussion about climate change reframed to focus less on reducing carbon emissions to zero and more on how we, as a species, can make more prudent decisions about how we structure our society so as to be more adaptable to changes in our environment, whether the cause is human-driven or natural.

And it is very likely we will be exploring polar ice on another planet before there ceases to be any on our planet. Hyperbole only serves to cause people to unduly doubt or tune out what is a very important message.