John Kerry Named to NSC and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

by Miro Korenha, co-founder/publisher Our Daily Planet

Yesterday, President-elect Joe Biden named former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, also announcing that he will sit on the National Security Council. As the Biden transition team wrote in a press release announcing the appointment: “This marks the first time that the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change, reflecting the president-elect’s commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue. ”

As the Boston Globe explained, “he appointment does not need Senate confirmation. It drew praise from veteran climate policy officials and from youth-led climate groups including the Sunrise Movement, which has added new urgency to the nation’s slow reckoning with the climate crisis, even as they called on Biden to do even more.”

Why This Matters: John Kerry is a respected diplomat who negotiated the Paris Climate Accord (famously signing it with his granddaughter on his lap), and helped incorporate climate change into foreign policy as President Obama’s second Secretary of State. His appointment signals that the Biden administration will prioritize repairing the United States’ standing as an arbiter of global climate solutions.

As Kerry said in a tweet after the announcement: “It’ll be an honor to work with our allies and partners, alongside rising young leaders in the climate movement, to tackle the climate crisis with the seriousness and urgency it deserves.”

Go Deeper: Read our interview with Secretary Kerry from earlier this year, it’s a good understanding of how his history as an activist and a lawmaker has shaped his understanding of the urgency of climate change.

News of the announcement was met with praise by established climate change leaders, but that from Senator Ed Markey and Governor Jay Inslee perhaps provide the biggest validation for progressive climate activists.

On another note: The Trump administration announced yesterday that it had approved the official government transition of President-elect Biden. As NBC News reported, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter that Biden, whom she referred to as “the apparent president-elect,” is now able to get access to millions of dollars in federal funds and other resources to begin his transition to power. In her letter, Murphy also denied that she had been under pressure from the White House to delay the process.

Now, the Biden transition website officially has a .gov URL.

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