John Kerry, the next secretary of climate change

posted at 2:01 pm on January 27, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Allahpundit covered John Kerry’s Secretary of State Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday with some hardcore foreign-policy questioning from Sen. Rand Paul, but there were some other juicy moments that were pretty revealing in terms of where the Obama administration is looking to focus their policy concerns in the coming years. Kerry enthusiastically followed his new boss’s lead from his second inaugural address, in which President Obama made quite the devout overture to the importance of tackling climate change:

Calling global climate change a “life-threatening issue,” Secretary of State nominee John Kerry said Thursday that the United States must play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, said at his confirmation hearing that the U.S. should pursue policies to boost clean energy and energy efficiency. In his state and others, such as California, “the fastest growing sector of our economy is clean energy,” Kerry said. “It’s a job creator.” …

Kerry told fellow senators he would be a “passionate advocate” on the issue if confirmed as secretary of state, “not based on ideology but based on facts, based on science. And I hope to sit with all of you and convince you that this $6 trillion (energy) market is worth millions of American jobs and leadership, and we better go after it.”

Convince us that we need to “go after” the energy market? Er, actually, we are the energy market, thanks largely to the recent shale oil-and-gas boom — but no doubt Kerry and Obama will spare no amount of taxpayer money in trying to forcibly remake that market into one more closely resembling their own ‘green-and-renewable’ visions.

It’s going to be difficult for President Obama to make big moves on climate change without Congressional backing, so no doubt he’ll use regulatory fiat to crack down on energies he doesn’t like and policy initiatives to lift up energies that he does — and he’ll be looking for plenty of action items to work on so he can point to everything he’s been doing to combat climate change while Congress mucks it all up and ruins his plans. The State Department is a definite avenue for such ‘accomplishments’ at home and abroad, so no doubt Kerry will be taking the “embassy greening” and “electric vehicle fleets” programs from Clinton’s tenure up a significant notch, and assigning his support to all kinds of those internationalist climate efforts of which we’re all so very fond.

Yvo de Boer, the former top U.N. climate official, said he expected Kerry to be more active on the climate-change front than Clinton. …

“So far, the international engagement on climate has been driven very strongly from the White House. But that has not been matched as strongly so far through a direct engagement of the secretary of state,” said de Boer, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Obviously climate is an environmental issue, but it’s also very much an economic and diplomatic issue, and I feel it’s really important that there is strong engagement from the State Department and the secretary of state, given the fact that the challenge we face is as much a diplomatic one as it is an economic and environmental one.”


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