Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a champion of action on climate change, was approved by the Senate to be Secretary of State. If his nomination is accepted by the House of Representatives, Kerry will replace outgoing Hilary Clinton. At his Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 24, Kerry pulled no punches and took a strong position on climate change and the role of renewable energy in revitalizing the US economy.
At the Senate hearing Kerry responded to a question from Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) by saying:
“The solution to climate change is energy policy. And, the opportunities of energy policy so vastly outweigh the downsides that you’re expressing concerns about … You want to do business and do it well in America, you have to get into the energy race … I would respectfully say to you that climate change is not something to be feared in response to—the steps to respond to—it’s to be feared if we don’t … I will be a passionate advocate on this not based on ideology but based on facts and science, and I hope to sit with all of you and convince you that this $6 trillion market is worth millions of American jobs and we better go after it.”
Kerry is widely respected for his position on climate change, as explained by Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke:
“In nearly three decades in the U.S. Senate, John Kerry has distinguished himself as a champion for action against climate change, an advocate for the international cooperation we need to protect the natural resources of a changing world and a visionary promoter of American jobs in the fast-growing market for clean energy worldwide.”
The Secretary of State has significant responsibilities as far as working with other nations on climate change related issues is concerned. As Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said,
“Now, one of the strongest champions for climate action in the Senate will be our nation’s top climate negotiator. We are excited that he will bring his strong credentials on climate to the critical decisions facing our planet, including increasing access to affordable clean energy options and stopping the expansion of dirty tar sands and coal worldwide.”