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In his first public address as Secretary of State, John Kerry told the audience of students and faculty at the University of Virginia to “be ready to join” him and President Obama in curbing the potential threat of climate change.

“We as a nation must have the foresight and the courage to make the investments necessary to safeguard the most sacred trust we keep for our children and our grandchildren, and that is an environment not ravaged by rising seas, deadly superstorms, devastating droughts and the other hallmarks of a dramatically changing climate,” Kerry said on Wednesday.

“President Obama is committed to moving forward on that, and so am I, and so must you be ready to join us in that effort,” he said.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama also discussed the potential consequences of climate change, and what he views as the necessity to try and prevent it.