Kerry must show the US is back

Special envoy faces tough challenges in restoring America’s climate credibility, writes Rebecca Peters

The World Today Published 2 April 2021 Updated 10 June 2021 3 minute READ

Rebecca Peters

Academy Associate, Environment and Society Programme

In their first week, the Biden-Harris administration sent a clear message to Americans and estranged global allies by appointing John Kerry, the former secretary of state, as the first special presidential envoy on climate change. In 2015, Kerry served as a key architect of the Paris Agreement on climate change, a diplomatic breakthrough that seemed to herald an era of unprecedented cooperation between the largest carbon emitters – the United States and China. 

The watchword of the new administration is ‘America is back’. Considering that international expectations of the US return to multilateralism may be at odds with bitterly divided domestic views on climate action, the question is: back to what? 

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