President Biden is naming senior adviser John D. Podesta to replace outgoing John F. Kerry as the top climate diplomat.
Kerry is set to step down from the role this spring.
“John Podesta has been a longtime climate ally and advocate. He knows the issue, and he’s worked with NGOs and Administrations over a long period of time,” Kerry wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Kerry is the first person to serve as the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, as the position was created when Biden was inaugurated in January 2021.
Kerry continued his post saying he had the pleasure of working with Podesta during the Obama administration, where he was a critical partner in China climate engagement, and during the Biden Administration, where he was engaged in the critical responsibility of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act.
“He has also conducted track-two dialogues as a private citizen, which has given him a strong foundation in the global challenges of the climate crisis. He will bring important expertise to the work ahead, particularly in respect to the down-to-earth challenges of implementing COP28,” Kerry wrote.
The White House officials confirmed Podesta’s new role on Wednesday. The Washington Post was the first to report the move.
“In three years, Secretary Kerry has tirelessly trekked around the world – bringing American climate leadership back from the brink and marshalling countries around the world to take historic action to confront the climate crisis,” White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients said in a statement. “We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do. John has – and will continue to be – at the helm of driving the implementation of the most significant climate law in history.”
Zients added that Biden’s appointment of Podesta will have a big impact, and that he is the right person for the role.
“Having served the three most recent Democratic Presidents over three decades, he is an American statesman, a fierce champion for bold climate action, and a leader who without a doubt the world will know has the trust of and speaks for the President of the United States,” Zients said.
White House officials said as senior advisor to the President for International Climate Policy, Podesta will continue to oversee the team implementing the Inflation Reduction Act.
“John will dedicate a significant amount of time to international climate policy – working in coordination with the strong team at the State Department – representing the United States as a fierce champion for bold climate action,” White House official said.
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