President-elect Joe Biden in Monday announced on Monday that former Secretary of State John Kerry will be joining his administration in a newly created role focused on climate change and how it impacts national security.
Kerry will serve as the first special presidential envoy for climate on the National Security Council.
The appointment of Kerry to the new position is indicative that Biden plans to make climate change a top priority of his administration, appointing officials to all agencies who will take climate change and its effects on Americans' health, economy, and national security into account in creating policy.
"America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is," Kerry tweeted after his new role was announced. "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."
Kerry has been vocal for years about the national security risk posed by climate change.
In a speech in 2015, Kerry talked about why he viewed it as such an urgent issue: "The reason I have made climate change a priority in my current role as Secretary of State is not simply because climate change is a threat to the environment. It's because — by fueling extreme weather events, undermining our military readiness, exacerbating conflicts around the world — climate change is a threat to the security of the United States and, indeed, to the security and stability of countries everywhere."
Kerry was instrumental in helping to negotiate the Paris climate agreement, the landmark global climate pact he signed on behalf of the United States in 2015.
Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement when he took office. Biden plans to rejoin it after he's sworn in.
Kerry continued to speak out about the need to tackle climate change after the end of the Obama administration.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing in 2019, he he slammed the Trump administration for its plan to create a "Presidential Committee on Climate Security" specifically to dispute the scientific community's belief that climate change is a national security threat.
The hearing included a heated moment in which Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) attacked Kerry by calling his major in college, political science, "pseudoscience."
Kerry's position will not require Senate confirmation, Business Insider reports.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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