"American leadership is essential to meeting the challenges of the 21st century, and chief among those is the complex, urgent and global threat of climate change," Clinton said at a State Department ceremony, according to the Associated Press.
The special envoy is Todd Stern, who was a key negotiator for the U.S. over the Kyoto Protocol during Bill Clinton's administration. Clinton said his appointment sends "an unequivocal message that the United States will be energetic, focused, strategic and serious about addressing global climate change and the corollary issue of clean energy."
The Bush administration abandoned the Kyoto Protocol, an international effort to curb emissions, arguing that it favored other nations. There are now international efforts to draft a successor to that agreement.
"The time for denial, delay and dispute is over," Stern said, according to the AP. "The time for the United States to take up its rightful place at the negotiating table is here."