John Kerry to End Tenure as Climate Envoy

Former secretary of state considers Biden's reelection key to climate battle
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2024 5:05 PM CST
John Kerry to End Tenure as Climate Envoy
John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, speaks during a news conference at the COP28 UN Climate Summit last month in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.   (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

John Kerry has told President Biden he plans to resign as special envoy for climate—a job created for him— by spring. The former secretary of state and US senator told the president on Wednesday and his staff on Saturday, the New York Times reports. Kerry will instead work on Biden's campaign, per Axios, considering the president's reelection vital to protecting the environment. The 80-year-old plans to put climate change issues to voters in the context of Biden's campaign.

Since early 2021, Kerry has traveled the world to persuade nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are heating up the planet, with mixed success. He received considerable credit when more than 30 nations strengthened their climate targets before the 2021 summit in Glasgow but had trouble moving China. After he lobbied Biden to establish tougher greenhouse gas emission goals, the president agreed to set a target of a roughly 50% reduction by 2030. Kerry is still scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum in January and the Munich Security Conference in February, per CNN.

On a trip to China last summer, Kerry said, "The climate crisis is a universal threat to humankind and we all have a responsibility to deal with it as rapidly as we can." The White House did not immediately comment on Kerry's pending departure. Former Vice President Al Gore, who has worked mostly on climate issues since leaving office, praised Kerry in a statement Saturday, per the AP. "John Kerry's tireless work to deliver global progress on the climate crisis has been heroic," Gore said. "He has approached this challenge with bold vision, resolute determination, and the urgency that this crisis demands." (More John Kerry stories.)

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