John Kerry: I ‘Admire Civil Disobedience’ from Climate Activists

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John Kerry I Admire Civil Disobedience from Climate Activists

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry praised the “civil disobedience” of climate activists like Just Stop Oil, who are responsible for blocking traffic and vandalizing artwork.

During an appearance on CNN International’s “First Move,” Kerry said “that militancy will grow if people in positions of responsibility do not take action.”

“But I would also say that you’re not going to help win any converts by destroying a great work of art or making it very difficult for people to get to work, and so forth.”

“I admire people who are willing to put themselves on the line, even in civil disobedience. But you understand that when you are civilly disobedient, there are consequences,” he added.

“And that’s part of making the point you want to make. I think, right now, we need people to be moving the political process as constructively as possible,” Kerry said.

Host Julia Chatterley asked, “Can I ask your views on direct action? Just Stop Oil comes to mind. These are the guys that, at the National Gallery in the U.K., they threw soup on Van Gogh’s sunflowers. They’re clearly a passionate — they’re [stopping traffic] around the world. They’re, in many ways, fighting the cause you are, to protect the planet. They’re just going about it in a sort of disruptive way. Advice for them, thoughts on them?”

Kerry responded:

“Well, I understand people who feel very, very deeply that they need to demonstrate or that they’re fed up with promises that aren’t fulfilled.”

“And there’s certainly a growing militancy in the world. And that militancy will grow if people in positions of responsibility do not take action,” Kerry added.

“But I would also say that you’re not going to help win any converts by destroying a great work of art or making it very difficult for people to get to work, and so forth,” he said.

“I think how you select what you do and what you do is always quite critical, and I say that as somebody who demonstrated and who was involved in protests,” he continued.

“I respect that right. I admire people who are willing to put themselves on the line, even in civil disobedience,” he added.

“But you understand that when you are civilly disobedient, there are consequences. And that’s part of making the point you want to make. I think, right now, we need people to be moving the political process as constructively as possible.”

He continued:

“And what we need is sort of massive pushback against nonsense. And, for instance, subsidizing the problem by making — where we subsidize some of the industries that are creating the problem in the first place.”

“We should not now be approving or financing any new unabated coal-fired power plant, for instance. And I think it’s critical for us to be making the really hard choices and the critical choices that will define the future,” Kerry said.

“Clearly, you can’t stop overnight. You can’t just shut down all the economies of the world. Nobody — I mean, that just doesn’t make sense.”

“But what you do need is to get everybody at the table and come to agreement as to what the levels of responsibility are for the various sectors of our economy, work constructively together — as we are trying to do — in order to provide new solutions to these problems, and we’re seeing that happen.”

READ: John Kerry: People Need to Live under Strict Climate Mandates for a “Better Quality of Life”

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