Guest columnist Rob Moir: Gasping climate change contrarians

Published: 6/6/2023 8:39:32 PM

A wheezing noise has emanated from Capitol Hill in Washington of late. It is a last gasp to stop America’s progress on the climate crisis.

House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., recently said the following to Fox News: “[Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry] was not confirmed by the Senate. He is not held accountable by the American people. He is skirting congressional oversight, and that is unacceptable. For the past two years, the Biden administration has withheld information on John Kerry’s role within the administration despite the committee’s many requests.”

Grasping for technicalities rather than addressing the most pressing issue on hand, climate change, the senior committee chair was surprised that the president and not Congress had appointed the special presidential envoy for climate.

Adding insult to intrigue, an email was obtained that points out, “the Special Envoy for Climate is the senior Administration and Department official responsible for climate change policy, and as such, foreign governments do communicate regularly with “Kerry” on climate matters alone.”

Kerry’s office staff of 44 is so large that it is the size of the Office of Special Presidential Envoy to Combat ISIS. Another climate contrarian shocker is that the ISIS special envoy heading the office is Brett McGurk, who was appointed by and reported to then-Secretary of State John Kerry.

Has the battle to slow and reverse climate change come to office dimensions, and who appointed whom to report to what?

Kerry has gone rogue with Congress to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy. He has jet-set around the world and attended high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements on behalf of the U.S. government, all with little oversight by the State Department.

Committee Chair Comer sounded the alarm, stating, “His reported upcoming negotiations with the Chinese on climate topics, an action which he has done on numerous occasions, is inappropriate and potentially undermines U.S. interests and domestic energy security. Mr. Kerry’s continued engagement in shady negotiations will be met with intense scrutiny by the committee.”

Comer recently sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken concerning Kerry and expects nothing less than full cooperation from the State Department.

In May, according to Chairman Comer, speaking with Fox News, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was told the following by a State Department official: “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry reports directly to the President. The Secretary of State consults closely and regularly with the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate to ensure policy coordination. We have established a variety of mechanisms and channels to ensure robust coordination between their respective staffs, including regular meetings between the Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs of Staff and other senior policy advisors.”

Meanwhile, the House Oversight Committee has been reassured that Kerry’s climate gig is up in May of 2024, so any reports that may follow will be moot.

President Biden was wise to separate the diplomatic work of the State Department from that of climate change. China has pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. This is an insurmountable challenge because China is currently the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 28% of global emissions. The United States, once the worst, is today the second largest emitter, responsible for around 15% of global emissions. China can only succeed by working collaboratively with the U.S. by including American-built climate solutions and world-best practices.

Given other major conflicts with America, it will require superlative statesmanship on our side for China to adequately address climate change.

Rob Moir is a nationally recognized and award-winning environmentalist. He is president and executive director of Ocean River Institute in Cambridge, a nonprofit providing expertise, services, resources, and information unavailable on a localized level to support the efforts of environmental organizations. Please visit for more information.


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