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John Podesta named senior Biden climate adviser as John Kerry steps down as climate envoy

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Washington — John Podesta, a senior adviser to President Biden and longtime fixture in multiple Democratic administrations, has been named senior adviser to the president on international climate policy, the White House announced Wednesday.

John Kerry, 80, is departing the White House after serving as special presidential envoy for climate since the creation of the position at the beginning of the Biden administration. 

"We've made historic progress these last three years and I know that, in his new role as @POTUS Biden's Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy, John Podesta will continue to grow the momentum from Glasgow, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Dubai," Kerry wrote on X.

Kerry served as secretary of state under former President Barack Obama after decades in the Senate. Podesta, 75, has served in top roles in the Clinton, Obama and now Biden administrations.

"In three years, Secretary Kerry has tirelessly trekked around the world — bringing American climate leadership back from the brink and marshaling countries around the world to take historic action to confront the climate crisis," White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said in a statement announcing the move. "We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do."

A White House official said Podesta will spend much of his time working on international climate policy in coordination with the State Department. He will also continue to oversee the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, the official said, which included hundreds of billions of dollars to transition to clean energy sources.

The Biden administration has prioritized its climate agenda, both domestically and internationally. A November assessment released by the administration highlighted what scientists have been saying for years — nowhere in the U.S. is safe from the impact of climate change. 

"Anyone who willfully denies the impact of climate change is condemning the American people to a very dangerous future," Mr. Biden said about the assessment at the time. "The impacts we're seeing are only going to get worse, more frequent, more ferocious, and more costly." 

Kerry hasn't said whether he hopes to pursue other ventures after leaving the White House.

Editor's note: Podesta's title has been updated in this report.

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