WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Secretary of State John Kerry warns U.S. ambassadors that they will be dealing with “climate refugees” in the not-too-distant future.

Kerry told U.S. ambassadors at the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday about the threat climate change poses around the world.

“There’ll be climate refugees that all of you will be coping with at some point, if not now, in the not-too-distant future,” Kerry said.

The secretary of state warned that there could potentially be 500-year long droughts.

“It is a national security threat, it is a health threat, it’s an environmental threat, it’s an economic threat,” Kerry said. “We’re spending billions upon billions — $110 billion last year on the damages that occurred because of the increased level of major weather events around the world; droughts that are 500-year droughts, not 100-year droughts; places that have less and less water; food that is less produced where it used to be.”

Kerry stated that we have a responsibility to respond to climate change.

“Ninety-seven percent of all the scientists for 20 years tell us unequivocally that this is happening and happening now, and humans are causing it, and we have a responsibility to respond to it,” he said.

Kerry returned to Switzerland on Thursday to help close a potential nuclear deal with Iran.

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