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FEBRUARY 1, 2013 4:00PM

Why Sec. Kerry is smart to initiate climate change diplomacy

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China, Pakistan and India are early and potentially catastrophic crisis points in the world's climate change disasters. Economically, these two nations attract more interest than other nations.

Because of the growing list of global crisis points that are products of excessive pollution and climate change, John Kerry will be the first climate change Secretary of State. Global warming is the toughest challenge facing nations today as  droughts, pollution, forest fires and natural disasters will threaten national  security, cause massive human migration,  start wars and jeopardize economic survival.



China contributes half of the world's pollution from coal and dirty oil burning.  Much of the coal comes from Wyoming and Montana in America. The resulting pollution lands on the West Coast of the U.S. where cities that exceed their pollution limits are found to have Chinese pollution driving up their numbers.

Scientists have been able to determine where specific molecules and grains of lead, mercury and other by-products originated. They have just been quiet about it.

According to a Jan. 31 article in the National Journal, Secretary Kerry has been talking about his concerns and wants to start negotiations with China to get that country to wake up and reduce its pollution. He knows that this is a top national security issue for  one reason.

No nation can afford to take on  massive human migration from China. The centralized and highly empowered leadership ignored warnings and created catastrophes in desertification and coal burning pollution. China was well aware that industrialization, powered by fossil fuels and coal, should have been balanced with pollution controls. China ignored all of that and allowed a handful of powerful men to dictate a disaster so great in volume that it cannot be comprehended.

Even after three or four changes of government,  China is swamped with poisonous smog, is turning into desert and is looking outward to a world that is not about to take in their refugees without war. African nations are the most vulnerable, as the Chinese Diaspora would crudely replace those pesky Black people with the rest of the world turning a blind eye.  And China moves in to pollute another continent.

As early as last August, Kerry was comparing the threat from climate change to the threat of war. He said,

“I believe that the situation we face [with climate change] is as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about” in Iran, Syria, and other trouble spots, he said.

 “If we just sit around where we are today, we’re going to have a problem because China is soon going to have double the emissions of the United States of America. We’ve got to get those folks as part of this unified effort and I intend to do that.”





India and Pakistan

The glaciers that feed the Indus River are are receding. India, looking a decade ahead to a much depleted Indus river, is actually talking about building dams and taking all of the water.

The Indus is fed by glacial water that flows through India and into Pakistan. It runs the length of Pakistan and into the Arabian Sea. Damming a river that is essential to life and livelihood for millions of people is a distinct act of war. The Pentagon and the CIA are already worried that such an event could ignite a nuclear face-off between India and Pakistan. Pakistan has a weak army and relies on a nuclear arsenal to discourage aggression by India. 

These are just two of the climate change diplomatic crises that Kerry will face as Secretary of State. Humans all over the world are flooding across borders in desperate search of life giving resources. Some are also fleeing war, corporate greed and Muslim Jihadists. Many are fleeing extended droughts, desertification and toxic pollution.

Subsistence farmers struggle to get seeds because of competition with seed stock used to grow biofuel. Indigenous people are thrown off their land and out of their forests so industrialists can exploit the land. Humans can’t even depend on the not-so-permanent permafrost any more.


The late reaction to climate change

As the world reels from historical changes in weather, including droughts, flooding, forest fires and violent storms, the resulting human migration will blend in with opportunistic invasions and international disputes over scarce water.  Pollution, however, will not be confined to manmade borders.

It does not matter whether fossil fuel burning creates climate change. It matters that fossil fuel burning creates mercury and other toxic particles that can travel 7,000 miles from China to the U.S. within a few days.


The American River at Marshall Gold Discovery Park near Coloma, California. To the upper right is the park's gold panning beach.







As the nation's top diplomat, Secretary of State Kerry is right to elevate  the geopolitical outcomes of climate change.

It will be more important than ever to reosolve climate change issues with green diplomacy. Perhaps diplomacy and technical assistance to encourage alternative energy production will become more important than solving national security issues with guns, bodies, bombs and bullets.

Water and land wars are far more serious than dogma wars. Subsistence farming is as important as corporate farming.  Nations can no longer afford to rob the people to enrich the rich. Nations can no longer afford to let traditional oil and gas industries  cut off what should already be a steady flow of energy from green and alternative  sources.



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Wow, this is thesis level here.. well done

"Nations can no longer afford to let the oil and gas industries cut off what should already be a steady flow of energy from green and alternative sources"

Good luck.. they buy off half our politicians..
wish it could happen.
great job Z. Kerry has his (our) work cut out for him. I wonder if a single greed head denier feels sorry about this.. guessing answer is no
Linda: I never thought anyone at his level would make the connection between climate change and war. China makes me sick, virtually, and it could have been averted. Bastards at the top, calling all the shots.

tr ig: I hate that we don't just cut the coal shipments by 2 percent until they clean up their act in China. India and Pakistan? I have no clue.
This is an incredible piece of work, Zuma. I will admit freely that I had not given much thought to the global implications of the refusal to address climate change as if it were the emergency that it is. Great job.
I see an EP.
Another outstanding post. You are really on your game!
Highly rated.
Great post. Try posting on the Atlantic Community.
Thanks, all. L: It was brave of Kerry to take such a direction. I wonder if that was why Obama chose him.
How can we sleep while our beds are burning. People worry the world will end by Nuclear holocaust or meteor strike or alien annihilation they should hope so, because in the not distant future it's just going to fry us slowly. Well written piece my friend, it's time to stop debating and so something about it, because the alternative will be as you describe. Just sucked in some wonderful Caribbean air, stay safe and have a better day........older/exasperated
Well done and depressing. Deserves an EP. R
Great post. I wasn't aware that Kerry was already on the move on this. I hope he keeps up the pressure.

That said, although India and China may be the largest polluters, that just means that they've recently bumped the US, Europe, and Russia out of the top three. And the CO2 already admitted by the US back when it was the #1 emitter, is going to be around for a century.

Our hands are far from clean on this issue.

Which brings us to the whole Keystone XL pipeline-- a pipeline whose primary purpose is to take one of the poorest types of coal fuel-wise, and make it easier to ship overseas (to China and India, in other words).

China has also taken real steps to control its population growth (as unpalatable as those steps are to some), curb its deforestation and attempts (often misguided) at reforestation.

India, I think, has made great strides in Thorium nuclear power, which could prove to be a real game changer.

Last thing, I've got to shill for upcoming anti-Keyston/pro-climate-change-action rally to be held February 14th. Can't take time off to march around the US Capitol? No problem, contribute to the cause at the Sierra Club: https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Donation2?idb=0&df_id=16100&16100.donation=form1&autologin=true&s_src=713ASCZZ35
This was a great read, it is quite difficult to tell an emerging country to scale back their efforts especially when it will appear we are trying to pull up the ladder to retard their efforts to make themselves economically viable. It is a tough sell and it cannot be made alone. Really tough to make with all the restrictions we are putting on ourselves in other areas. Not sure we are robust enough to take this stand at this time.
We should be lean and efficient before we extend out and doing this while trying to become a nanny state at the same time is rather foolish. We are battling on four fronts at once and it is not sustainable in my view.
What should be our priorities? We need some real grownup converations.
It's hard to demonize developing countries that need coal and dirty oil, but the technology has been around since the 70s. China was warned to start balancing industrialization with environment back then, but that nation runs on the decisions of a handful of over empowered men. Even their first top environmental official said so.

We only need to put our money where our mouths are and to help developing countries with the technology we already have.
Unfortunately, the do-nothing climate change deniers actually do demonize developing countries. Well, that is when they are not kicking and screaming about how alternative energy sources doom developing countries to poverty.

That is one of the things that makes the climate change situation such a tough nut to crack. It would require us (as in U.S.) to give a lot of technology to countries we view as rivals.

Which I am all for.
Kudos to you for a great post - and to Kerry. This is the only level - the international treaty - at which climate change can be solved. I was really disappointed with Clinton that she didn't display more initiative in this area.
Thanks tobbar!

Dr. Stuart: International treaties plus shared investment and aid will keep us all alive longer. One thing we can't put a border on is air and water, and we are sharing our own wealth with ourselves.