No. 2 US climate diplomat leaves after a year under Biden

Jan 21, 2022, 12:16 PM | Updated: 12:50 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration’s second-ranking climate diplomat is leaving his government job after one year, special U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Friday.

Jonathan Pershing is a veteran of decades of U.S. government climate efforts, with work that included helping to negotiate the 2015 Paris accord under the Obama administration. Pershing had returned to government to help the Biden administration restart global U.S. climate efforts following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord.

As soon as Joe Biden called Kerry about serving as climate envoy, “I called Jonathan in California to tell him we needed him on Day One. I told him we had to get the band back together,” Kerry said in a statement, calling it “a critical call for us.”

The New York Times first reported Pershing’s departure. It said he would be returning to manage climate programs for the Hewlett Foundation.

The No. 2 climate envoy’s departure comes after a year of all-out global diplomacy by Kerry, Pershing and and their team to push governments to commit to more, and faster, cuts in climate-wrecking emissions from petroleum and coal.

The first year of Biden administration diplomacy succeeded in raising attention globally to what governments were doing to help. Numerous nations, including the United States, increased their pledges of emissions cuts by November’s U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

“After four years of disengagement and distrust, we needed not just the A team but the A+ team to rebuild our credibility and diplomacy,” Kerry said in the statement. He credited Pershing with making a “real difference.”

But Kerry and his team had a harder time engineering big, game-changing breakthroughs. China in particular refused U.S. entreaties to make a faster break from its building and operation of dirty-burning coal-fired power plants.

And after pledging to lead the world by example on cutting emissions, the Biden administration has failed so far at getting its centerpiece climate legislation through Congress. U.S. emissions, including from coal, surged in Biden’s first year as the economy recovered from the pandemic.

China is the world’s worst emitter of climate-destroying petroleum and coal emissions currently, while the United States is the worst over time.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A woman crosses the street near a billboard commemorating the state visit of Chinese Preside...
Associated Press

China wants 10 Pacific nations to endorse sweeping agreement

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — China wants 10 small Pacific nations to endorse a sweeping agreement covering everything from security to fisheries in what one leader warns is a “game-changing” bid by Beijing to wrest control of the region. A draft of the agreement obtained by The Associated Press shows that China wants to train […]
2 hours ago
Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Netherlands reacts a Stakeholder Dialogue at the 51st annual meet...
Associated Press

Davos updates | Pfizer offers low-cost drugs to poor nations

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Pfizer says it will provide nearly two dozen products, including its top-selling COVID-19 vaccine and treatment, at not-for-profit prices in some of the world’s poorest countries. The drugmaker announced the program Wednesday at the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering in Davos, Switzerland, and said it was aimed at improving health equity […]
2 hours ago
In this photo taken May 24, 2022 and released by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...
Associated Press

Chinese leader Xi defends record to UN human rights chief

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping defended China’s record to the top U.N. human rights official Wednesday, saying each nation should be allowed to find its own path based on its particular circumstances and criticizing those countries that lecture others on human rights and politicize the issue. “Through long-term and persistent hard work, China […]
2 hours ago
A local resident stands next to a heavily damaged building in a Russian bombing opposite his house ...
Associated Press

Ukraine: 6 civilians killed as Russia focuses fire in east

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A regional governor in eastern Ukraine says that at least six civilians have been killed by the latest Russian shelling in a town at the epicenter of fighting three months into the war. Luhansk region Gov. Serhiy Haidai said Wednesday that another eight people have been wounded in the shelling of […]
2 hours ago
FILE - The headquarters of Anglo-Swiss commodities firm Glencore is seen in Baar, Switzerland on Ap...
Associated Press

Glencore pays up to $1.5B to resolve corruption claims

BERLIN (AP) — Commodities firm Glencore says it has reached deals with authorities in the United States, Britain and Brazil to resolve corruption allegations in return for penalties totaling up to $1.5 billion. The Anglo-Swiss company said late Tuesday that it will pay $700 million to resolve a U.S. bribery probe and a further $486 […]
2 hours ago
A residents enters her home building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 24, 20...
Associated Press

Live updates | Britain sees growing pressure on grain prices

LONDON — British military authorities say Ukraine’s overland export routes are “highly unlikely” to offset the problems caused by Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea port of Odessa. And that will put further pressure on global grain prices. The U.K. Ministry of Defense, in an update posted Wednesday morning, says there has been no “significant” […]
2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
(Twitter photo / Coco5)...

Suns star Devin Booker’s all-natural sports drink Coco5 perfect for any activity

Devin Booker is leading the Suns in pursuit of their first NBA championship while also working to provide people proper hydration with Coco5.
By Dr. Richard Carmona

Now’s a great time to receive your COVID-19 vaccine

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, now’s the time to join many other of your fellow Arizonans who are doing so right now. No one will criticize you; there is no shame. In fact, you’ll be welcomed with smiles and open arms!
No. 2 US climate diplomat leaves after a year under Biden