Last month, John Kerry stepped down from his position as the United States’ first-ever special presidential envoy for climate. But he voiced his fears that Donald Trump could return to office in the upcoming election and undo progress that has been made. 

The United States and China came together at the 2021 Climate Summit to pledge that they will take a more aggressive position in battling climate change by reducing methane emissions produced by their respective countries.

Kerry worked closely with Xie Zhenhua, the head of China’s delegation at the summit, to spearhead a movement that aimed to reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere. The two also made a combined effort to spread understanding of global climate change among their nations.

In January 2024, Kerry announced that he was planning to soon step down from his position. He did so soon after Zhenhua announced his intention to leave his position.

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Kerry intends to continue aiding in the battle against climate change and expressed hopes to do so with Zhenhua, whom he worked closely with during his years as climate envoy.

“We’ll see if we can stick together,” Kerry said about Zhenhua at the March 6 press conference.

Kerry has long been a powerful voice against climate change. During the Obama administration, Kerry held the position of Secretary of State. He and Zhenhua played a significant role in finalizing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set goals for international efforts against climate change. 

Their efforts were undone when Trump quickly moved to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement upon his election in 2016.

The election of President Joe Biden saw Kerry’s return, offering climate activists a new hope as they saw the United States once again adopt their strong efforts against climate change. Kerry soon assumed his new role envoy for climate and pushed for the United States’ participation in battling climate change. 

Trump’s securing of the GOP presidential nomination has alarmed climate activists.

A few of the Trump administration’s plans for a second term include boosting gas and oil production, exiting the Paris Agreement and cutting environmental regulations.

“I still believe that our collective efforts in climate initiatives have global and local benefits, but sustained collaboration is crucial in tackling the climate crisis,” Kerry said.

Kerry has already met with his successor, John Pedestal, and China’s new climate delegate Liu Zhenmin in hopes of continuing the spirit of cooperation between the superpowers.

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