Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) said Thursday he considers leadership on "life-threatening" climate change one of the issues that defines American foreign policy in his opening remarks at the confirmation hearing for his appointment to secretary of state.
"American foreign policy is also defined by food security, energy security, humanitarian assistance, the fight against disease and the push for development, as much as it is by any single counter-terrorism initiative, and it must be," Kerry said at the hearing.
"It is defined by leadership on life threatening issues like climate change," he continued.
It is believed Kerry will make climate change a policy priority in that role. In August, Kerry called climate "as dangerous" as the Iranian nuclear program or the continuing violence in Syria on the Senate floor.
"I believe that the situation we face, Mr. President, is as dangerous as any of the sort of real crises that we talk about," Kerry said then. "Today we had a hearing in the Foreign Relations Committee on the subject of Syria, and we all know what’s happening with respect to Iran, and nuclear weapons and the possibility even of a war."
"Well, this issue actually is of as significant a level of importance, because it affects life itself on the planet," Kerry continued.