John Podesta To Be Named Top US Climate Diplomat

The White House senior adviser John Podesta will add international climate policy to his job responsibilities, replacing John Kerry as the top U.S. official on international climate issues, The White House said on Wednesday.

In January, Kerry announced resigning from the climate position to work on President Biden’s re-election campaign. Podesta will take over Kerry’s responsibilities when he departs this spring, The White House said.

The Biden administration created Kerry’s position to fight climate change internationally. Kerry has been in the position since Biden took office in 2021.

“In three years, Secretary Kerry has tirelessly trekked worldwide, bringing American climate leadership back from the brink and marshaling countries worldwide to take historic action to confront the climate crisis. We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do,” Jeffrey Zients, Biden’s chief of staff, said in a statement.

As outlined, Podesta will continue to oversee federal spending under the Inflation Reduction Act, along with domestic climate priorities, continuing the international portfolio that Kerry managed. The job position will not require Senate confirmation.

John Podesta, a longtime Democratic strategist who was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama, has been advising Biden on clean energy and innovation since he joined the White House in 2022.

In 2016, Podesta was named in the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy, accusing him of several offenses which included pedophilia.

Podesta and other high-ranking Democrats were named in the conspiracy theory after WikiLeaks released an abundance of hacked emails from Podesta and other Democrats. According to the theory, the emails suggest that Podesta was planning and promoting criminal activity through coded language in the emails.

Kerry said in a post that he had the pleasure of working with Podesta during the Obama administration, where he was a critical partner in China’s climate engagement, and during the Biden Administration, where he was engaged in the crucial responsibility of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act.

“He has also conducted track-two dialogues as a private citizen, which has given him a strong foundation in the global challenges of the climate crisis. He will bring important expertise to the work ahead, particularly concerning the down-to-earth challenges of implementing COP28,” Kerry said.

The decision comes at a consequential moment in global climate politics. Former President Donald Trump is a fierce opponent of climate policy and has vowed to increase fossil fuel development.