MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM – U.S. Secretary of State Joh Kerry was in Vietnam Sunday and announced an initial commitment of $17 million towards helping Vietnamese communities reverse environmental degradation and adapt to climate change.
“Decades ago, on these very waters, I was one of many who witnessed the difficult period in our shared history. Today, on these waters, I’m bearing witness to how far our nations have come together. This is one of the two or three most potentially impacted areas in the world with respect to the effects of climate change,” Kerry said.
“If we continue down the path that we are on today, scientists predict – let me emphasize, not politicians, not radio talk show hosts – but scientists predict that by the end of this century, the sea will have risen by almost a full meter on average,” Kerry continued. “To some people, that doesn’t sound like a whole lot. But … it would literally displace millions upon millions of people around the world. It would destroy infrastructure. It would threaten billions of dollars in global economic activity. And this hits home. The reason we’re here today is to emphasize that a large part of the world’s shrimp farming and catfish farming takes place within the delta. And there are some 70 million people who rely on the Mekong River for economic stability.
“While no single storm can be related to climate change, everybody does know as a matter of scientific fact that rising temperatures would also lead to longer and more unpredictable monsoon seasons and more extreme weather events. “