US climate envoy John Kerry to leave the Biden administration soon

John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy on climate, is stepping down from the Biden administration in the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with his plans.

Kerry, a longtime senator and secretary of state, was tapped shortly after Joe Biden’s November 2020 election to take on the new role created specifically to fight climate change on behalf of the administration on the global stage.

Kerry’s departure plans were first reported Saturday by Axios.

Kerry was one of the leading drafters of the 2015 Paris climate accords and came into the role with significant experience abroad, as secretary of state during the Obama administration and from nearly three decades as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Biden’s decision to tap Kerry for the post was seen as one way the incoming president was making good on his campaign pledge to battle climate change in a more forceful and visible manner than in previous administrations.

“The climate crisis is a universal threat to humankind and we all have a responsibility to deal with it as rapidly as we can,” Kerry said in a visit to Beijing last summer, when he met with Vice President Han Zheng on climate matters.

Kerry represented Massachusetts for 28 years in the Senate and was also the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.

“John Kerry’s tireless work to deliver global progress on the climate crisis has been heroic,” former Vice President Al Gore, who has focused primarily on climate in his post-public office life, said in a statement Saturday. 

“He has approached this challenge with bold vision, resolute determination, and the urgency that this crisis demands. For that the U.S. and the whole world owe him a huge debt of gratitude.”