John Kerry, the United States’ special envoy on climate, is set to depart from the Biden administration in the coming weeks, as disclosed by sources familiar with his plans. Appointed shortly after President Joe Biden’s election in November 2020, Kerry assumed the role specifically created to champion the fight against climate change on the global stage. Axios first reported Kerry’s impending departure on Saturday.
A seasoned statesman, Kerry’s extensive experience includes serving as a long-time senator and secretary of state. His prominent role in drafting the 2015 Paris climate accords, coupled with his robust foreign relations background, positioned him as a key player in the administration’s climate efforts. President Biden’s selection of Kerry underscored the commitment to addressing climate change with increased vigor and visibility, aligning with his campaign promise.
During international climate summits, Kerry maintained a relentless pace, engaging with world leaders, business figures, and scientists. His involvement in press conferences, where he shared insights, announced initiatives, and supported civil groups combating climate change, enhanced his credibility and influence. Former Vice President Al Gore praised Kerry’s tireless efforts, emphasizing his heroic approach to advancing global progress on the climate crisis.
Despite his global influence, Kerry faced criticism for perceived shortcomings in U.S. climate policies. The Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark climate law, directed significant funds toward renewable energies but drew criticism for its emphasis on domestic production. Critics argue that such policies are protectionist and undermine global cooperation. Additionally, the United States historically opposed the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund, which garnered approval during COP27 in 2022, marking a shift in stance by wealthy nations, including the U.S.
Representing Massachusetts for 28 years in the Senate and the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, Kerry leaves a legacy intertwined with climate diplomacy. As the U.S. climate envoy, his departure raises questions about the continuity and evolution of American leadership in the global fight against climate change.