John Kerry confirmed as US secretary of state bodes well for climate progress

30 January 2013

NEW YORK: John Kerry is confirmed by the Senate as the next US secretary of state, a role which will allow the climate champion greater power to tackle rising emissions and push for US energy security through clean energy.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry replaces Hilary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state for the US, with a vote of 94-3.

Climate change will be high on John Kerry's priorities in his new role, as highlighted in his opening statement at the nomination hearing, where he called climate change a "life threatening issue" of which the US could show foreign policy "leadership" by fighting.

John Kerry's website also suggests his level of climate action as the first new member of President Obama's second-term national security team. It reads: "the global climate crisis is more than an urgent scientific imperative; it is also a tremendous economic opportunity to secure America’s leadership in creating the low-carbon global economy and our future prosperity". 

The statement continues: "the opportunity is also great. In this time of economic challenge, we can put Americans back to work and take charge of our own energy future and the fate of our planet. Leading the world in inventing new energy technologies and transitioning to clean energy will create thousands of high-paying American jobs and put our country back in control of our economy. We can create a clean, stable, prosperous future for our children and grandchildren."

America is already expecting a greater focus on climate change in President Obama's second term, since he called for greater clean energy leadership and climate action in his well-received inauguration speech last week.

A focus on American leadership to create a low carbon economy and greater prosperity is core to The Climate Group's American Clean Revolution campaign.

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group commented on the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state: “No one has worked harder to advance climate change solutions in the US Congress than John Kerry. He can’t change the dynamics that have slowed the international climate negotiations to date, but he has a passion for the issue, and he knows how to broker compromise, which bode well for progress on the opportunities for reducing emissions that lie before the international community today."

A welcoming ceremony is planned to take place at the State Department next Monday.


Read Chairman Kerry's full opening statement

See what Obama said about climate change in his inauguration speech

Learn more about our American Clean Revolution campaign


Picture by Al Jazeera English on Flickr.

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