John Kerry was named special presidential envoy for climate, President-elect Joe Biden's transition team said Monday.
The position was part of an announcement of key members of Mr. Biden's foreign policy and national security team. "These experienced, crisis-tested leaders will start working immediately to rebuild our institutions, renew and reimagine American leadership to keep Americans safe at home and abroad, and address the defining challenges of our time — from infectious disease, to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, cyberthreats and climate change," a transition team statement said.
The former secretary of state "will fight climate change full time" and sit on the National Security Council, "reflecting the president-elect's commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent national security issue," the statement said.
In a tweet Monday, Mr. Kerry said: "America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. 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."
Before heading the State Department, Mr. Kerry chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where the first hearing he oversaw was on climate change. He later worked on climate change legislation. In 2019, Mr. Kerry co-founded World War Zero, a bipartisan coalition of world leaders and celebrities working to halt the rise of carbon emissions by 2050.
In the new envoy position, Mr. Kerry will play a central role in carrying out Mr. Biden's $2 trillion climate plan that along with immediately rejoining the Paris agreement on climate change calls for major investments in green energy and infrastructure.
Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, called the new position "a huge step forward" that reflects the Biden administration's commitment to dealing with climate change.
"Every regulatory agency has a role to play and I think this appointment affirms this. Putting somebody in with John Kerry's stature is a great start, and having it so tied to national security elevates it," Ms. Lubber in an interview. "John Kerry knows and understands government, and he get things done."