John Kerry frustrated over ‘lies from the highest voices’ on climate

Former US Secretary of State praises Alicia O’Sullivan, from west Cork


Former US Secretary of State, John Kerry, who negotiated and signed the landmark Paris climate accord on behalf of the United States, expressed frustration at what he perceives as an avoidance of the truth by certain politicians on climate.

“Today we have public leaders who not only avoid the truth they try to alter the truth. Thousands of lies from the highest voices. This has to change,” he told the Ocean Summit in Cork on Monday.

Mr Kerry said resting on our laurels was not an option at this point.

“We can’t rest on our laurels when a garbage patch twice the size of Texas floats in the Pacific. We can’t rest on our laurels when almost 60 percent of all fish stocks are fished to their maximum levels. There is no fishing industry if we don’t protect our oceans. It is a pretty simple proposition. We can’t rest on our laurels when there is still more than 400 maritime boundary disputes in the world.”

Mr Kerry praised 17-year-old environmental activist, Alicia O’Sullivan, from west Cork for her heartfelt speech at the conference.

He insisted that she received a huge reaction from the hall because young people like her and Greta Thunberg are “telling the truth.”

“They are the future. And we are not getting the job done for the future. Alicia said she is frustrated. I am angry. The fact is as we sit here stand here and talk here today not one nation in the world is sustainable. And we collectively are not getting the job done.”

Mr Kerry said our natural world doesn’t have the “space or time” to be lied to at governmental level.

At a wider level he says we need to hold the “liars, the cheaters and the greedy” accountable in terms of their actions or inaction on climate change.

Environmental activist Alicia O’Sullivan told the conference that she was “scared” for her future.

“We cannot plan. We cannot focus. We cannot settle. We cannot be happy. The youth of this world are calling on everyone to work with us. It is only ever going to work if it is a collaborative effort.”

She said she lives in west Cork where planning permission had been granted for a large thermo plastics factory. “I recently joined the campaign in an attempt to stop this.

“Our fishermen here in Ireland have cleaned up 330 tonnes of marine waste, of mainly plastics, from our oceans since 2015. They do this without any incentives or extra pay. They do this so they can protect their livelihoods,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English launched the draft Marine Planning Policy Statement (MPPS) at the summit.

The statement sets out the policies and principles the Government expects marine planning bodies and other public bodies that engage with the marine planning system to observe.

A two-month public consultation process is underway which will conclude on August 9th.