Kerry to make global warming priority as secretary of state

John-Kerry-climate-billOn Friday afternoon, President Obama nominated Senate Foreign Relations chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State to serve during the president’s second term.

Although his confirmation is expected to go relatively hitch-free, conservatives nonetheless are wary due to Kerry’s impassioned support of arms control, especially given the president’s expected ratification of an arms reduction treaty with Russia. As the president himself predicted on an open microphone, now that he’s been re-elected, he’ll have more “flexibility” dealing with the Russian bear.

But Kerry has another pet issue that should give conservatives pause — climate change.

Following the nomination, the League of Conservation Voters released a statement praising the decision.

“Senator Kerry is a true leader on climate change and other environmental issues and has spent his career advocating for policies that are good for our planet and our national security,” said Gene Karpinsk, the League’s president.

“LCV looks forward to working with Secretary-designate Kerry to combat the climate crisis, reject dirty fuels and build on Secretary Clinton’s extraordinary record of success.”

Nor was the news of Kerry’s nomination lost on the international community. The following statement of congratulations was noted on Twitter:

“Confident @JohnKerry as state sec is good news for #climate. Cross fingers his dedication will make climate a strategic priority. Congrats.” This came from Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s commissioner for climate action.

Kerry’s senatorial colleague, Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon, also sent praises for the nomination via Twitter — and he also emphasized climate change in his message.

“[One] of the most pressing challenges is to reverse potentially devastating climate change. Kerry understands need to tackle this threat head on,” the tweet read.

However, inroads on this issue will mean an uphill battle for Kerry. As noted by Ben Geman, writing for The Hill, “Global negotiations to craft a global climate deal are treading water at best, while bills to impose new restrictions on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions remain moribund in Congress, which doesn’t help the nation’s international leverage.”

Read more at The Hill.

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