By Timothy Gardner and Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden named former Secretary of State John Kerry as particular local weather envoy, his transition group mentioned on Monday, an indication that Biden views diplomatic abilities as important to the job.
Kerry can have a seat on the Nationwide Safety Council within the White Home, the transition group mentioned, marking the primary time an official will likely be devoted to the problem in that physique.
Biden has pledged to reverse course on local weather from President Donald Trump, who doubts mainstream local weather science. Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris settlement on local weather, and dismantled Obama-era local weather and surroundings laws to spice up drilling, mining and manufacturing.
Whereas secretary of state beneath former President Barack Obama, Kerry, 76, referred to as local weather change “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” In travels from glaciers in Greenland to the Solomon Islands, Kerry has emphasised cooperation on tackling local weather change.
He’ll face a difficult job of gaining the world’s belief after Trump’s rejection of local weather diplomacy. As Trump blasted the Paris settlement as being too costly for U.S. residents, China, the world’s high greenhouse gasoline emitter, positioned itself as a catalyst on local weather, asserting new targets to chop the air pollution in September.
Earlier than the landmark Paris settlement, Kerry pushed for China and the US, the world’s second-leading emitter, to agree on emissions targets and work towards a worldwide deal.
Kerry, who was additionally a longtime liberal senator from Massachusetts and 2004 presidential candidate, will probably get a fast begin as Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris settlement quickly after he comes into workplace. In contrast to Trump, Biden believes local weather change places nationwide safety in danger as a result of it results in regional instability that can require extra humanitarian missions by the U.S. navy.
To assist push international locations to transition away from coal, oil and , develop renewable energy and superior batteries, in addition to preserve delicate ecosystems like forests, Kerry will probably transcend advocating for motion beneath the United Nations framework for local weather.
Kerry can even probably work with a counterpart within the White Home, anticipated to be introduced quickly, centered on home local weather points.
“The problem now could be to actually amplify and supercharge local weather diplomacy not by way of negotiations, however ensuring it’s a part of each nation’s restoration from COVID and ensuring it’s a central pillar of coverage,” mentioned Nat Keohane, who heads the local weather program on the Environmental Protection Fund nonprofit.
Appointing Kerry as local weather envoy “sends the strongest doable sign concerning the significance of local weather motion to the incoming administration,” mentioned Paul Bodnar, who was a senior director for power and local weather beneath Obama.
Late final 12 months, Kerry launched World Conflict Zero, a bipartisan group of world leaders and celebrities to fight local weather change.
After Monday’s announcement, Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming chief of employees, mentioned “Keep tuned!!” on Twitter, when Varshini Prakash, director of the Dawn Motion environmental group, mentioned she was conserving her eyes peeled for the naming of Kerry’s home local weather coverage counterpart.