Kerry Says--Wrongly--Some Temps This Week Broke ‘Every Record That’s Ever Been Seen’

Patrick Goodenough | May 23, 2014 | 1:56am EDT
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Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a Cleantech Challenge event in Mexico City on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. (Photo: State Department)

( – Secretary of State John Kerry told an audience in Mexico on Wednesday that temperatures in Europe and in Vietnam were “unprecedented” and broke “every record that’s ever been seen.” However, although it was hot that day, he was off the mark.

Speaking at an environmentally-friendly technology event in Mexico City, Kerry said he had just caught a CNN weather report in his hotel and “saw the temperatures around the world right now.”

“Thirty-four degrees centigrade [Celsius] in Vietnam today, in May. Twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-two, thirty-three in places all around Europe,” he said. “Unprecedented. Breaks every record that’s ever been seen.”

“What we are seeing around the world is what scientists have predicted,” Kerry continued. “They’re not telling us that we may see global climate change. We are seeing it, and we’re seeing the impacts now.”

Wednesday was a hot day in Vietnam, with temperatures rising at their highest to 36 degrees celsius (96.8°F) at Tan Son Nhut international airport in Ho Chi Minh City. But according to Vietnam’s foreign ministry, the highest temperature recorded in May is 39°C (102.2°F) in Ho Chi Minh City, and 42°C (107.6°F) in Hanoi. The Hanoi record was registered in 1926.

European temperatures on the early afternoon of Wednesday, May 21, 2014 (Map:

The hottest places in Europe in the heat of the day on Wednesday, according to included parts of Russia, Germany, central Italy and southern Turkey, all in the 29-32°C (84-89°F) range.

The highest temperature ever recorded in European Russia was 44°C (111.2°F) in 2010; in Germany was 40.2°C (104.4°F) in 1983 and 2003; in Italy was 48.5°C (119.3°F) in 1999; and in Turkey was 48.8°C (119.8°F) in 1993.

Kerry went on to underline the urgency of combating climate change.

“We are closer and closer to a time where the tipping point that they’ve warned us about is going to be reached. It’s becoming more and more dangerous,” he said.

“All you have to do is look at the last two reports, and particularly the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report of the United Nations, with 97 percent of the scientists of the world warning us about the devastating impact of global climate change if we don’t take action – and take serious action – soon.”

Kerry then reprised some of the points he made in a commencement speech at Boston College early this week, when he said that if “members of the flat earth society” turn out to be wrong about climate change, “then we are risking nothing less than the future of the entire planet.”

“There’s still a debate in some places about why we ought to do it or whether it’s real – amazingly,” he said.

“But let me ask you something. If we do what you know you can do as entrepreneurs, as scientists, as innovators, if we do it, and if we were wrong about the science – which I don’t believe we are, but if we were – and we move to new and sustainable energy, what is the worst thing that could happen to us?

“The worst thing is we would create millions of new jobs; we would transition to cleaner energy, which hopefully would be homegrown, which makes every country much more secure; we would have cleaner air, which would mean we have less hospitalization for children for asthma and people with particulates causing cancer; and we would have greater energy security for everybody and independence as a result,” he said. “That’s the worst that could happen.”

“What’s the worst that happens if the other guys are wrong, the people who don’t want to move in this direction?” he continued. “Catastrophe. Lack of water. Lack of capacity to grow food in many parts of the world. Refugees for climate. People fighting wars over water. Devastation in terms of sea-level rise. We’re already seeing it in the Pacific.”

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