John Kerry to Return in Biden Administration as ‘Climate Czar’

Democratic presidential candidate former U.S. Vice president Joe Biden (L) campaigns with
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Massachusetts senator and Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to return to government as a special presidential envoy on climate under a prospective Biden administration, the Biden transition team announced Monday.

Kerry tweeted after the announcement:

America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. 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.

Kerry, as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, spearheaded a number of foreign policy initiatives that ended under the Trump administration.

Kerry spearheaded the Iran nuclear deal, which was heavily criticized by Senate Republicans at the time for the inclusion of what some characterized as secret side deals, as well as a cash infusion of $1.7 billion to the Iranian regime.

Kerry also brokered a deal with the Syrian regime to get rid of its chemical weapons, after evidence emerged the regime used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians in its civil war. The deal was unsuccessful in preventing another chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians, after which President Donald Trump ordered strikes against the Syrian regime in 2018.

Kerry also oversaw the U.S.’s entrance into the Paris Agreement, a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Trump pulled out of the agreement in 2020, arguing that the agreement handicapped the U.S. economy in order to “win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense.”

Kerry indicated in a second tweet after the announcement that he would look to reenter the U.S. into the agreement:

The work we began with the Paris Agreement is far from done. I’m returning to government to get America back on track to address the biggest challenge of this generation and those that will follow. The climate crisis demands nothing less than all hands on deck.

As a special envoy, Kerry would not need Senate confirmation.

According to Biden’s transition office, Kerry will sit on the National Security Council.

Kerry is only one of a number of former Obama administration officials who would come back to serve under a Biden administration.

Other former Obama administration officials who have been named by the transition team include: Antony Blinken as secretary of state; Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security; Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Jake Sullivan as national security adviser; and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

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