WASHINGTON – John Kerry’s two-year-old granddaughter sat in his lap when he signed the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of the United States in 2016 as Secretary of State.
When President-elect Joe Biden announced on Monday that he would be nominating him as the first Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, Kerry posted a photo of the moment on Twitter.
It demonstrates Kerry’s commitment to combating climate change as a debt to future generations.
“The work we started with the Paris Agreement is far from complete,” he wrote. “I am returning to government to put America back on track for solving the biggest problem of this and future generations.”
Environmentalists have welcomed the announcement of Kerry’s future appointment.
“There are few people in the world with such remarkable experience in the fight against climate change as John Kerry,” said the head of the World Resources Institute, Andrew Steer.
Kerry played an important role in the negotiations of the Paris Agreement. Prior to that, he worked with Chinese officials on an agreement to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. When the two main sources of emissions came into play, the road to an agreement became clear.
However, many Republicans continue to argue that the Paris Agreement has put the United States at a disadvantage, as the US side’s emission reduction commitments exceed those of other major pollutants such as China and India.
It should be noted that the agreement does not require member countries to fulfill their obligations.
Kerry is getting involved in an administration that has put climate change at the top of its agenda. Biden named it one of his top priorities when taking office.
This would mark a sharp departure from the Trump administration’s position.
President Donald Trump not only eased dozens of restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel producers, but also pulled the United States out of the climate agreement that Kerry signed.
The United States officially ceased to be a party to the Paris Agreement on November 4, that is, a day after the elections, which Biden won. Biden said he intends to re-join the agreement shortly after taking office.
Kerry’s appointment “sends a powerful signal to the rest of the world that the US is ready to return to its role as climate leader,” said John Podesta, founder of the leftist Research Center for American Progress, and Christy Goldfuss, head of the center for energy and the environment.
Kerry’s job will not be limited to repairing a relationship that has soured over the Trump years. Scientists say the world has less time to seriously reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid catastrophic climate change. Kerry needs to convince other countries to step up this work.