Biden Climate Envoy John Kerry Says U.S. Needs to Work with China, Russia on Climate Change

US Climate Envoy John Kerry speaks during CERAWeek, an international energy conference, in
MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said on Friday the United States needs to work with China and Russia on climate change.

“We have to work with China, we have to work with India,” Kerry said during an interview with Yahoo News on Friday about working with the communist country to combat climate change.

Kerry holds a cabinet-level position in the Biden administration — that did not require a Senate confirmation — and has authority over energy and climate policy within the executive branch. The climate envoy sits on the National Security Council and President Joe Biden’s cabinet and has an office housed in the State Department with an estimated annual budget of $13.9 million and 45 personnel.

“We even have to find a way, ultimately, if we can resolve the war in Ukraine, to work with Russia, because Russia is a huge emitter,” Kerry added. “And any one of these countries has an ability — if it doesn’t move to change its energy base — to make it much harder for the rest of the world, if not impossible, to reach the goals we’ve set.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands prior to a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China Sunday, May 17, 2015. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)

“President Biden empowered me to reach out to China and work with China, which we have done for two years, and with some effect,” Kerry added. “Not as much as we need, ultimately.”

This comes after Kerry complained earlier this month about the tensions between the United States and China hurting his talks on the climate. In February, the U.S. military shot down a Chinese sky balloon over the Atlantic Ocean off the Carolina coast. Despite U.S. officials claiming it was a spy balloon with surveillance capability, China maintains it was just an off-course weather balloon.

The Associated Press

In this photo provided by Chad Fish, the remnants of a large balloon drift above the Atlantic Ocean, just off the coast of South Carolina, with a fighter jet and its contrail seen below it, February 4, 2023. (Chad Fish via AP, File)

“Regrettably, in the last year … what was not supposed to happen has happened, which is the climate issue has gotten mixed up into all the other tensions that exist between our countries,” Kerry told Axios at CERAWeek. “And so they’ve kind of pulled back a little bit, expressing the feeling that all we’re doing is bashing them and bashing them.”

The United States and China countries made a joint declaration in late 2021 on taking aggressive action toward emissions. Kerry reportedly had a “productive working relationship” with his Chinese counterpart going back to the Obama administration (when Biden was vice president).

The Associated Press

In this Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, file photo, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via AP)

Since then, it has been reported that Kerry has also been holding climate negotiations with his Chinese counterpart, which House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) decided to probe in February, as Kerry has not released details of his meetings. Comer requested some transparency to understand Kerry’s activities.

Correction: This article originally stated Kerry required Senate confirmation. It has been corrected to say that he did not.

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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