John Podesta to Replace John Kerry as Biden’s Climate Czar

The White House has announced that John Podesta will serve as the Biden administration’s climate czar, replacing John Kerry.

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that White House adviser John Podesta will replace John Kerry as President Joe Biden’s climate czar.

“In three years, Secretary Kerry has tirelessly trekked around the world—bringing American climate leadership back from the brink and marshaling countries around the world to take historic action to confront the climate crisis,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said in a statement to media outlets.

“We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do,” he added.

Mr. Kerry, who has the official title of U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, recently announced he would be stepping down from this role sometime this spring to work on President Biden’s re-election campaign.

Mr. Podesta, who served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, will take over Mr. Kerry’s responsibilities. However, he will not be named as climate envoy but rather as a senior advisor to the president for international climate policy. This is a move that appears to sidestep a potential partisan confirmation dispute in the Senate because a law passed in 2022 requires Senate approval for special envoys.

“We’ve made historic progress these last three years and I know that, in his new role as [President] Biden’s Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy, John Podesta will continue to grow the momentum from Glasgow, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Dubai,” Mr. Kerry wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, making clear that Mr. Podesta would not inherit his title.

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John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, attends the United Nations' COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai, UAE, on Dec. 13, 2023. (Fadel Dawod/Getty Images)
John Kerry, the U.S. special envoy for climate, attends the United Nations’ COP28 Climate Conference in Dubai, UAE, on Dec. 13, 2023. (Fadel Dawod/Getty Images)
Mr. Kerry was in the role of special climate envoy since 2021 and did not have to go through a Senate confirmation process. That’s because his appointment pre-dated the passage of the FY2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which included provisions requiring that special envoys previously appointed at presidential discretion would, starting in January 2023, require Senate confirmation.
There has been some controversy around whether the confirmation provisions in Section 5105 should also apply to sitting special envoys, such as Mr. Kerry.

Who Is John Podesta?

Mr. Podesta, 75, has had a long career in Washington, beginning in the Jimmy Carter era.

During the Clinton administration, Mr. Podesta served in several posts, concluding as President Bill Clinton’s last chief of staff in the White House.

In the post-Clinton era, Mr. Podesta founded the Center for American Progress (CAP), a left-leaning think tank.

During the administration of President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta was behind the scenes working in various advisory capacities.

In 2009, Mr. Podesta and CAP senior fellows held informal talks with Chinese officials on issues including climate change.

In 2016, Mr. Podesta served as campaign manager for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential run.

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, who would become her campaign chairman during the 2016 elections, in Washington, on Oct. 12, 2011. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, who would become her campaign chairman during the 2016 elections, in Washington, on Oct. 12, 2011. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Mr. Podesta’s emails were leaked by WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 election and contained controversial materials that would later feature prominently in a conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate.”

The conspiracy theory alleged that high-ranking Democrats, including Mr. Podesta, were involved in a child sex-trafficking ring.

In December 2016, a man motivated by the conspiracy theory fired a gun inside Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, a District of Columbia restaurant that was featured prominently in various sordid claims associated with “Pizzagate.”

In 2018, Mr. Podesta discussed the conspiracy theory in an interview with Rolling Stone, calling the allegations against him false and the whole affair “painful and crazy,” while also saying that trolls motivated by the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory would call his home in the middle of the night with threats.
In 2022, President Biden announced that Mr. Podesta would join his administration as Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, with his responsibilities including overseeing $370 billion in clean energy investments that were included in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“We are fortunate that John Podesta will lead our continued innovation and implementation,” President Biden said in a September 2022 statement. “His deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can truly hit the ground running to take advantage of the massive clean energy opportunity in front of us.”

Kerry Not Retiring

Mr. Kerry explained in January, during the annual meet-up of global elites at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he wasn’t retiring but that he wanted to focus on helping President Biden win the 2024 presidential election.

“As a federal employee, I live under something called the Hatch Act, where you’re not supposed to engage in politics—in elected politics, partisan politics,” Mr. Kerry said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on the sidelines of the Davos event.

“And so what I will really do is regain my own voice by not being a federal employee. And I will campaign for President Biden because I think the stakes are so high, not just in our country and for our country, but for the world,” he added.

Mr. Kerry said he would elaborate as to what is at stake in the upcoming election once he’s formally out of his role as climate czar and free of the constraints of the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil-service employees in the executive branch of the federal government from engaging in some types of political activity.

Former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has been sharply critical of Mr. Kerry’s work, including accusing him of “destroying” the United States with his various climate policies.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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