Former Secretary of State John Kerry has taken a beating on social media for hoping that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “stay on track” in the fight against climate change after invading Ukraine.
Speaking with BBC Arabic, Kerry worried that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would divert the world’s attention from the fight against climate change.
“Massive emissions consequences to the war, but equally importantly you’re going to lose people’s focus,” said Kerry. “You’re going to lose, certainly, big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact.”
Kerry added that he hoped Putin would recognize the damage that climate change has allegedly inflicted on his own country and “stay on track” with fighting it.
“So, you know, hopefully I think President Putin would realize that in the northern part of his country, they used to live on – 66% percent of a nation that was over frozen land. Now it’s thawing and his infrastructure is at risk and the people of Russia are at risk,” he said.
“And so I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate,” he concluded.
Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on BBC Arabic: The Ukraine Crisis Could Distract the World from the Climate Crisis While Having Massive Emissions Consequences #RussiaUkraineConflict #UkraineRussie #UkraineRussiaCrisis #ClimateCrisis @JohnKerry @ClimateEnvoy pic.twitter.com/nsOC1iZeGm
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) February 24, 2022
Kerry was not the only public figure to mention climate change in the wake of the invasion.
“It’s almost like TV programming. Soon as the #ChineseOlympics were over, #Putin gins up war w/Ukraine to keep our eyes glued to the Communist world,” tweeted actress Bette Midler. “But the biggest story in the world is #ClimateChange. What good is more territory if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water?”
It’s almost like TV programming. Soon as the #ChineseOlympics were over, #Putin gins up war w/Ukraine to keep our eyes glued to the Communist world. But the biggest story in the world is #ClimateChange. What good is more territory if you can’t breathe the air or drink the water?
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) February 24, 2022
Critics immediately blasted Kerry for mentioning climate change at a time when Ukraine faces a full-scale invasion by an aggressive neighbor.
Climate change religious zealot John Kerry is worried that the first major ground war in Europe in 80 years & #Putin’s threat of nuclear consequences is getting more attention than his climate agenda
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 24, 2022
Eye on the ball, John.
— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) February 24, 2022
Suppose the only issue you care about is climate change.
You are doing an analysis that places zero weight on foreign policy considerations, zero weight on economic growth, zero weight on any other policy area whatsoever — you are a pure 100% climate voter.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 24, 2022
John Kerry now says that the war in Ukraine will distract from the world’s “most important security question”: climate change
You can’t make this up
— George Papadopoulos (@GeorgePapa19) February 24, 2022
.@johnkerry: "I hope President Putin will help us with respect to what we need to do to stay on track with the climate."
What an idiot. https://t.co/VKHvN0VL6c
— Steve Milloy (@JunkScience) February 24, 2022
.@JohnKerry is deluded and naive. Asking Putin to collaborate on climate change issues just gives the arsonist one more piece of leverage over the fire department. https://t.co/GNJPwrXooL
— Eli Lake (@EliLake) February 24, 2022
How was this guy secretary of state? https://t.co/wSvgJBJrYI
— Alana Goodman (@alanagoodman) February 24, 2022
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