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John Podesta to succeed John Kerry as U.S. climate envoy

John Podesta (pictured in August), the senior adviser to the president for clean energy innovation, will succeed John Kerry as the United States' top climate envoy when Kerry leaves the position this spring, the White House announced Wednesday. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
1 of 2 | John Podesta (pictured in August), the senior adviser to the president for clean energy innovation, will succeed John Kerry as the United States' top climate envoy when Kerry leaves the position this spring, the White House announced Wednesday. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 31 (UPI) -- White House adviser John Podesta will take over as the United States' top climate diplomat when John Kerry steps down this spring, the White House announced Wednesday.

"We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do," White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients said in a written statement, shared with The Washington Post, CNN and The Hill.

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"John has -- and will continue to be -- at the helm of driving the implementation of the most significant climate law in history," Zients added.

Kerry, who has served as U.S. climate diplomat for three years under the Biden administration and recently announced he would leave his role to work on the 2024 campaign, congratulated Podesta on Wednesday in a post on X.

"We've made historic progress these last three years and I know that, in his new role as Biden's senior adviser for international climate policy, John Podesta will continue to grow the momentum from Glasgow, Sharm el-Sheikh and Dubai."

Podesta, who joined the Biden administration in September 2022, currently oversees Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which has devoted billions of dollars to speed the nation's shift to clean energy, including wind and solar.

Before that, Podesta served as a top climate adviser to former President Barack Obama and was involved in negotiations that resulted in the Paris Climate accord. Podesta chaired Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and also served as White House chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton.

"Having served the three most recent Democratic presidents over three decades, he is an American statesman, a fierce champion for bold climate action and a leader who without a doubt the world will know has the trust and speaks for the President of the United States," Zients said.

Podesta has said he would focus more on deploying clean energy in the United States as climate envoy, as Kerry traveled more in an effort to convince other countries to curb pollution.

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On Wednesday, Podesta turned his attention to Kerry's tenure, his work to reduce global methane emissions and his negotiations during annual climate summits.

"Secretary Kerry has put the U.S. back in leadership on climate round the world," Podesta told The Washington Post in a phone interview. "And we'll ensure that we keep up the momentum that has been built up through his efforts."

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