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Kerry Spells Out Economic Consequences of Climate Change

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks about climate change to the Atlantic Council in Washington, March 12, 2015.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has spelled out the economic consequences of ignoring climate change. He spoke at a Washington forum on Thursday as the United States and other world powers prepare for a United Nations climate change conference in Paris later this year.

Addressing skeptics of climate change, Secretary Kerry said gambling with the future of Earth when the outcome is known is “beyond reckless” and “just plain immoral.”

“It is a risk that no one should take. We need to face the reality. There is no planet B," said Kerry.

In a speech at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, Kerry said the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as widespread droughts, flooding and hurricanes would lead to disruptions that will affect jobs.

“We can expect disruptions to the global agricultural sector that will threaten job security for millions of farmers and undermine food security for millions of families," he said.

He said research indicates that climate change could cause crop yields for staples such as rice, wheat and maize to fall by 2 percent per decade.

“Consider what that means for millions of farmers around the world and the inflationary impact that will have on food prices," said Kerry.

Saying the solution is good energy policy, he encouraged global investment in renewable energy, such as solar power and wind.

It is an issue that world powers will discuss at the U.N. conference in December in a bid to adopt an international agreement that sets the framework for lower carbon emissions.

In a February briefing, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 2015 is a “pivotal” year for finalizing a universal climate change agreement.

He spoke as the U.S. and other world powers prepare for a December climate change summit in Paris where they focus on adopting international standards for lower carbon emissions to combat global warming.

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