Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry suggested during the ongoing United Nations climate conference that he was open to remaining in the Biden administration for the foreseeable future.
Kerry’s comments, during which he also vowed to continue his public climate advocacy until his “last breath,” come as the U.N. COP28 climate summit comes to a close. The conference is the third of its kind that Kerry has attended as President Biden’s climate czar and is one of dozens of international climate engagements he has attended since joining the Biden administration in the role in early 2021.
“As long as this is a crisis, I will be organizing and speaking and active in dealing with this challenge,” Kerry said in an interview with Politico Europe last week.
“Maybe in one role or another,” he said when asked how he envisioned carrying on his work as U.S. climate envoy. “I intend to be a citizen until my last breath. And by that, I mean there are obligations of citizenship, obligations of responsibility, and of speaking out and fighting for values. So, I think one should never turn one’s back on that public obligation.”
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COP28 kicked off late last month in Dubai and is slated to conclude this week with some form of a new international agreement filled with new, and more aggressive, commitments from nations. The summit has also seen a wide range of new initiatives, including several involving the U.S. delegation led by Kerry.
For example, the U.S. finalized regulations targeting methane emissions of the oil and gas sector and vowed to shutter all remaining coal-fired power plants.
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“It’s safe to say that there literally will be hundreds of initiatives that will be announced, many of them coming from the United States, but also many coming from other parts of the world, and I think it’s going to be a very exciting presentation of a global effort that is taking place, even though it’s not happening fast enough or big enough yet,” Kerry told reporters ahead of the conference.
“What is very clear to us – and we will be pushing this the next two weeks that we are here negotiating – we have to move faster,” Kerry added. “We have to be much more seized of this issue all around the planet. There’s too much business as usual still.”
And in his interview with Politico Europe, Kerry reiterated why he is so passionate about combating global warming.
“The bottom line is that we have to do things because it’s a crisis and life itself is at stake,” he said. “There are serious challenges right now.”
In his role as special presidential envoy for climate, Kerry regularly travels around the world, attending high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements in an effort to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy alternatives.
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He has also received criticism for his use of a private jet owned by his family. According to flight tracking data obtained by Fox News Digital in July 2022, a Gulfstream GIV-SP jet owned by Kerry’s family made a total of 48 trips that lasted more than 60 hours and emitted an estimated 715,886 pounds, or 325 metric tons, of carbon over the course of the Biden administration’s first 18 months.
However, one month after the Fox News Digital report that highlighted the jet’s extensive carbon footprint, and after lawmakers blasted Kerry for apparent hypocrisy, the Gulfstream jet was sold to an energy-focused hedge fund in New York City. Whitney Smith, a State Department spokesperson, confirmed the sale in a statement earlier this year and said Kerry travels commercially in his current role.
And Kerry’s talks with his Chinese counterparts have also faced congressional scrutiny over their potential impact on national security and the U.S. economy.
Kerry’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.