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President-elect Joe Biden named John Kerry as his special envoy on climate, tasking the former secretary of state with steering a 180-degree turn in U.S. diplomacy on the issue and advising the incoming administration on the security challenges a warming planet poses.
“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry said in a tweeted statement. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”
The 76-year-old will represent his country at a moment scholars increasingly see as a period of American imperial decline amid unprecedented planetary changes. Under President Donald Trump, the United States sought to censor its own scientists, gut climate regulations at home and promote fossil fuels abroad, even as wildfires, heatwaves and storms routinely smashed records for death toll and destruction. The U.S. long allowed its fossil fuel companies’ misinformation on climate science to guide its policy overseas under past presidents.
But Kerry must now allay concerns that a Biden administration can build a climate legacy that will withstand another Republican presidency and pitch the U.S. as a worthwhile partner as China emerges as a dependable alternative, both as a steady economic superpower and wellspring of clean energy technology.
The role, announced alongside secretary of state pick Antony Blinken, was last filled by Todd Stern, a career diplomat who held the seat for both of former President Barack Obama’s terms and served as the U.S. chief negotiator at the 2015 Paris climate talks. President Donald Trump abolished the position in 2017 shortly before announcing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the non-binding pact signed by every other country in the world.
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COMMENTS VIA TWITTER
US Special Climate Envoy: John Kerry The former Secretary of State will be the first “climate czar” in the Biden a… https://t.co/Lz33m5vKX1
US climate envoy John Kerry laments 'wasted years' under Trump https://t.co/YQLX13XNZ0
John Kerry commits US to climate crisis fight but warns world is way off pace https://t.co/Z52nJshxNP
RT @COP26: Today #COP26 President @AlokSharma_RDG met with US @ClimateEnvoy John Kerry to discuss the road to Glasgow. 🌏 See a readout of…
RT @POLITICOEurope: Europe is looking to John Kerry, Biden’s incoming climate envoy, to restore confidence in the American response to clim…