I’m an optimist. I think most of the problems on Earth are caused by human beings. And if we cause them, we ought to be able to solve them or prevent them. — John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
I’m an optimist. I think most of the problems on Earth are caused by human beings. And if we cause them, we ought to be able to solve them or prevent them. — John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
As Climate Envoy, John Kerry Faces Tough Path
John Kerry, the former United States senator and secretary of state, is now a kind of pedigreed traveling salesman for the environment, shuttling from country to country, with an urgent pitch to save the planet.

He’s visited 14 countries in nine months, some of them more than once. He flies commercial these days and, at 77, the travel is tiring. But President Biden’s special climate envoy is under mounting pressure.

... His sales approach is simple. “We’ve got to do what the science tells us to do,” he said.

But his task is enormous. Mr. Kerry is trying to reassert American leadership and illustrate Mr. Biden’s claim that “America is back.” That’s a difficult proposition following the go-it-alone approach of former President Donald J. Trump, who questioned the science behind climate change and pulled the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord, the only one out of 197 nations to withdraw.

... Mr. Kerry described his decision to return to government as “what the fight of public life is all about.”

“I deeply believe that this is a major crisis for our world,” he said, as he relaxed in his hotel suite after a battery of meetings with Indian ministers and business leaders. “And this is a moment where we have a chance to do something about it. And who can say no to a president of the United States who asks you to do that at this particular moment in time.”

... “I’m an optimist,” he said. “I think most of the problems on Earth are caused by human beings. And if we cause them, we ought to be able to solve them or prevent them.”


In many ways, his career has been building to this moment.

... When Mr. Trump took office, he trashed Mr. Kerry’s two signature achievements: the Paris agreement, and the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

During his brief hiatus from public life, Mr. Kerry created an interdisciplinary climate program at Yale University, his alma mater, and launched “World War Zero,” a bipartisan group of world leaders and celebrities to combat climate change.

Friends and colleagues were not surprised when in January he accepted Mr. Biden’s offer to serve as the first presidential climate envoy.

Retirement never suited Kerry, who wants to be in the arena, said Thomas Vallely, a longtime friend who is a senior adviser for Mainland Southeast Asia at Harvard University’s Ash Center. “This is like bullfighting. He’s addicted.”

Upon his return to government, Mr. Kerry said he found that the Trump years damaged America’s credibility, saying it “was chewed up and spat out” after Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

As a result, Mr. Kerry’s approach is a delicate attempt to try to understand what countries need, as opposed to making demands.

... “You know, right now, everything’s a question mark,” Mr. Kerry said. But, he added, “I think the world is coming around.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/22/climate/john-kerry-climate.html