Burchett seeking transparency on Climate Envoy Kerry’s role in Biden State Department

May 11, 2021
Press Release
Asks Secretary of State Blinken for details on staffing, responsibilities, and costs at Special Presidential Envoy for Climate office

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2021) – U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (TN-02) is seeking transparency regarding the responsibilities of Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry, and the activities and costs at the office he leads. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has jurisdiction over the SPEC’s office, Rep. Burchett asked for disclosure of information related to staffing, responsibilities and costs at the office. 

SPEC Kerry frequently travels via private jet for backroom negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, on a future climate arrangement between the United States and ChinaIn his letter to Sec. BlinkenRep. Burchett questioned the necessity for SPEC Kerry and his office to engage with a geopolitical adversary in pursuit of the White House’s climate agenda, even though the United States’ climate record is much stronger than the CCP’s. 

“In 2019, America’s carbon emissions were at their lowest level since 1992 and at their lowest level per capita since 1950,” Rep. Burchett wrote. For this reason, I struggle to understand the importance of Sec. Kerry and Mr. Zhenhua’s meeting and the broader Biden climate agenda and resources being utilized to effectuate it.” 

Rep. Burchett also warned against Biden administration officials getting too cozy with the CCP for the sake of reaching a climate agreement, pointing out the CCP has a history of untrustworthy behavior. 

The Biden administration said it plans to cooperate with the CCP on climate issues and the Paris Climate Accord, but, as Sec. Kerry should know, it is foolish to trust the CCP on this or nearly any other matter of immense geopolitical significance,” Rep. Burchett wrote. China’s carbon emissions have continued to rise year after year, and the country’s commitments under the Paris Climate Accord are meaningless as the CCP is permitted to continue increasing emissions until 2030. 

Last week, it was reported that SPEC Kerry commented that the United States should excuse the CCP’s human rights abuses against the Uighurs to strike a climate deal. Rep. Burchett spoke out against these comments. 

Click here to read Rep. Burchett’s full letter to Secretary Blinken