Secretary of State John Kerry is continuing a push to move climate change to the top of the global agenda, telling an audience in the archipelago nation of Indonesia that rising global temperatures and sea levels could threaten their "entire way of life."
"When I think about the array of global climate, of the global threats, think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," Kerry said in a speech to students in the capital, Jakarta. "All challenges that know no borders. The reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them."
He stressed that 97 percent of scientist agree that climate change is "unequivocal" and that those people who deny the facts "are simply burying their heads in the sand."
"Because of climate change, it's no secret that today Indonesia is ... one of the most vulnerable countries on Earth," Kerry said.
"It's not an exaggeration to say that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk," he added.
"Kerry derided skeptics of the view that human activity causes global warming as 'shoddy scientists' and 'extreme ideologues' and he said big companies and special interests should not be allowed to 'hijack' the climate debate.
"Kerry, who faces a politically tricky decision at home on whether to allow Canada's TransCanada Corp to build the Keystone XL pipeline despite the opposition of environmental groups, had little patience for such skeptics in his speech."
"We just don't have time to let a few loud interest groups hijack the climate conversation," he said. "I'm talking about big companies that like it the way it is, that don't want to change, and spend a lot of money to keep you and me and everybody from doing what we know we need to do.
"We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists ... and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact."
Kerry spoke in Indonesia a day after discussing climate change with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.