President Joe Biden has appointed former Secretary of State John Kerry as U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, a new position that does not require the approval of the Senate. John Kerry’s most important areas of expertise and positions are as follows:
1. Strong support for environmental and climate issues: John Kerry worked as US Secretary of State under Obama, from 2013 to 2017, and was one of the most vocal proponents of issues relating to climate change and environmental challenges, which he considered a US diplomatic priority.
He was also a key architect of the Paris Climate Agreement and signed this historic treaty in 2015 on behalf of the US, a treaty that Biden has recently rejoined. Kerry has also formed an organization that includes members of both Democratic and Republic parties with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions in the US by 2050.
2. Need to rely on diplomacy to end the war in Yemen: During Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, Kerry affirmed that Biden would work towards using diplomacy to solve all issues and would not resort to military solutions or to sending US troops on combat missions abroad. He said: “Before we ask American families to send their children to wars overseas, we must have first exhausted all diplomatic options.”
Kerry was one of the most important supporters of Washington holding talks with the Houthis in order to find an acceptable solution for all sides of the conflict in Yemen, and thus agrees with Biden on the need to rely on diplomacy to end the war in Yemen as soon as possible. When he was Secretary of State, he pursued intensive coordination with the Gulf and especially Saudi Arabia in order to end the war in Yemen.
3. Supporting diplomatic approaches with Iran: Kerry is considered one of the foremost supporters of taking a diplomatic approach with Iran. He was one of the architects of the nuclear deal that was signed with Iran in 2015 and criticized Trump’s withdrawal from the deal. He said, “diplomacy was working until Trump abandoned it.” He also observed that Trump is abandoning allies by withdrawing unilaterally from the deal, and this will be considered an insult to the countries that the US worked with to get the deal in place.
4. Supporting Saudi efforts to change economic and social dynamics: In 2017,Kerry expressed his appreciation for Saudi anti-corruption efforts, and commended the efforts of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in changing economic and social dynamics in Saudi Arabia.
5. Praising the peace treaty between the UAE and Israel: Kerry thanked UAE leaders for their swift efforts and historic initiative in signing a peace treaty with Israel.
In conclusion, although Kerry holds a new position removed from Middle East foreign policy, it is not unlikely that Biden will call upon him to outline policies for the region, due to his extensive experience in dealing with crises in the region during his four years as Secretary of State.