President Biden has tapped John Podesta, his adviser on clean energy and a seasoned political strategist, to succeed John Kerry as his global representative on climate, the White House confirmed on Wednesday.

Mr. Podesta, 75, will take on that international role in addition to his current White House job overseeing $370 billion in spending on clean energy projects under the landmark 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

Mr. Kerry, 80, has told the White House that he intends to step down by the spring but has not given a specific date. Mr. Podesta will take on the role in a slightly different capacity because, under a recently passed law, the job of special envoy would require Senate confirmation. His title will be senior adviser to the president for international climate policy.

Jeffrey Zients, Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, called Mr. Podesta “a fierce champion for bold climate action.”

“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,” Mr. Zeints said in a statement. “We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do.”

Mr. Kerry, in a statement, called Mr. Podesta “a longtime climate ally and advocate.”

Mr. Podesta will continue to work out of the White House, rather than the State Department, where Mr. Kerry and his team of diplomats are based. While Mr. Podesta will be the new face of climate diplomacy for the Biden administration, those who had worked under Mr. Kerry in the office of the special envoy will now become part of a formal office of the State Department, according to three people familiar with the plan.

The office will be overseen by Richard Verma, who currently serves as the State Department’s deputy secretary of management and resources, and who will coordinate with Mr. Podesta, the sources said.

Mr. Podesta is a passionate veteran of the federal government’s efforts to fight climate change. The news of his appointment was first reported by The Washington Post.

He served as White House chief of staff during President Bill Clinton’s last three years in office, during which, partially at Mr. Podesta’s urging, Mr. Clinton became something of an environmentalist, promoting Everglades restoration, protecting vast areas of the national forests from commercial exploitation, saving redwood forests in California and establishing a dozen or so major national monuments by presidential proclamation.

During the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Podesta founded the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research organization, and then went on to become an architect of President Barack Obama’s climate change agenda.

He was chairman of Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful campaign for president in 2016, and then informally advised Mr. Biden at the start of his term, pushing the White House to act more aggressively on climate change, before joining the administration in 2022.

The decision comes at a consequential moment in global climate politics. Last year at a United Nations summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, nearly 200 nations agreed to transition away from fossil fuels. Mr. Biden faces pressure to complete an ambitious climate agenda early this year. His expected rival in the 2024 presidential race, former President Donald Trump, is a fierce opponent of climate policy and has vowed to increase fossil fuel development.

Climate activists praised the decision to appoint Mr. Podesta.

“It reassures the international community that the United States will continue lean into leadership on global climate action,” said Manish Bapna, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

He noted that Mr. Podesta was instrumental a landmark 2014 climate agreement between the United States and China during the Obama administration, was an architect of the 2015 Paris climate agreement and has close ties with climate leaders in several countries.



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