Biden Taps John Kerry to Serve as Climate Czar, Announces Key Cabinet Picks

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a U.N. Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, December 10, 2019. (Susana Vera/Reuters)

Joe Biden will nominate former secretary of state John Kerry for climate czar in his presidential cabinet, the Biden-Harris transition team announced on Monday.

Kerry will serve on the White House national security council as the “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.” The position, which does not require Senate approval, would be the first national security council post to deal with specifically climate change.

“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry wrote in a Twitter post. “I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”

The Biden-Harris team noted that Kerry “was a key architect of the Paris Climate Accord” of 2015. President Trump later pulled out of the treaty, saying its criterion for reducing emissions harmed American manufacturing and energy jobs.

“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” Trump said on June 1, 2017. “The agreement doesn’t eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States, and ships them to foreign countries.”

Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State is Antony Blinken, a longtime Biden adviser who served as deputy Secretary of State from 2015 to 2017 during the Obama administration. Prior to that post, Blinken served as national security adviser to Biden during his tenure as Vice President.

The Biden-Harris team announced Jake Sullivan as nominee for national security adviser. Sullivan served as deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has held various other posts in the Obama-Biden administration.

Additionally, former U.S. Customs and Immigration head Alejandro Mayorkas received Biden’s nomination for secretary of homeland security. During his tenure at UCIS from 2009 to 2013, Mayorkas oversaw the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Mayorkas was the subject of a 2015 inspector general probe that found he intervened in visa applications for companies owned by Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic governor of Virginia, and Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kerry’s post requires Senate confirmation. Since the post is housed within the White House, it does not require confirmation.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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