John Podesta will take over from John Kerry as the primary climate advisor for President Biden.
According to the White House, Senior Adviser John Podesta will now be responsible for international climate policy and will take over for Special Climate Envoy John Kerry as the primary US representative on global climate matters. This announcement was made on Wednesday.
In mid-January, Kerry declared that he will resign from his role in addressing climate issues to focus on supporting Joe Biden’s bid for re-election. According to the White House, Podesta will assume Kerry’s duties, but not his position, upon his departure, likely in the coming spring.
Podesta has extensive experience in climate policy from previous Democratic administrations. He returned to the White House last year to implement a comprehensive US climate program, which was revitalized with the $375 billion allocated in the 2022 climate law. He also headed the administration’s climate task force.
The Biden administration appointed Kerry to a role focused on addressing climate change at an international level. Kerry has held this position since 2021, when the president assumed office.
Kerry’s designation did not necessitate validation from the Senate, however, a legislation enacted in 2022 mandates that special envoys who report to the secretary of state must obtain consent from the Senate.
To avoid potential political conflict in the Senate, Podesta was appointed as a senior advisor for international climate policy rather than being named as the climate envoy.
On Wednesday, the White House announced that Podesta will remain in charge of monitoring government spending under the Inflation Reduction Act and will also take on responsibilities for domestic climate initiatives. He will also take on the international role that was previously held by Kerry. This position does not require approval from the Senate.
The Chief of Staff at the White House, Jeff Zients, stated that Kerry has worked tirelessly to address the global issue of climate change and has traveled extensively, including his participation at a United Nations climate conference in Dubai at the end of last year.
According to Zients, John Podesta is the perfect person to ensure that the US remains committed to addressing the current gravity of the situation. Zients praises Podesta as a strong advocate for ambitious climate action and highlights his experience working with three Democratic presidents as well as his close relationship with Biden.
The initial announcement of Podesta’s appointment was made by The Washington Post.