The House Oversight and Accountability Committee wants more information about Biden administration climate envoy John Kerry’s negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party over an international agreement.
President Joe Biden named Kerry, a former U.S. senator, as his special presidential envoy for climate.
Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, served as secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s second term. In that role, he helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement, which included a nominal reduction in carbon emissions by China.
“The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is investigating your role in the Biden administration and the nature of your negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party,” House Oversight Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., said in a letter to Kerry dated Thursday.
The inquiry from the Republican majority on the House oversight panel comes shortly after Kerry, in a speech last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the solution to climate change is “money, money, money, money, money, money, money.”
Comer’s letter notes that Kerry is in a “Cabinet-level position that does not require Senate confirmation despite your apparent ability to bind the United States to international agreements.”
“As a member of the president’s Cabinet, you should be representing the United States’ interests. Your statements, however, consistently show disregard for American national security and taxpayer dollars,” Comer writes Kerry.
Comer’s letter also notes that committee Republicans in the last Congress requested similar information while they were in the minority. The majority party in the House has subpoena power and may compel cooperation.
Comer’s letter to Kerry says nothing about a subpoena, but asks that the former secretary of state provide documents, information about staff, and communications to the committee by Feb. 16.
The letter includes this specific request: “All documents and communications between any individual or individuals within the office of the SPEC [special presidential envoy for climate] and any third party, including but not limited to any environmental advocacy group or foreign government official.”
Last May, Kerry told The Associated Press that he was negotiating with China to form a group of nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that some scientists say contribute to climate change.
“We are going to work on the practicalities of how we move faster” to reduce emissions, Kerry told AP. “Maybe we can help with technology of some kind to help China move faster. Maybe China could help us better understand some things we could do better.”
In October, Kerry said China’s poor human rights record should be decoupled from climate cooperation. In remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations, he said:
I think the key is that this is not a bilateral issue and that we need to get back to the table because the world depends on it and it could be helpful to China’s efforts to protect its own population, to deal with the very serious problems China has regarding the climate crisis, and, hopefully, even to open up a pathway for being able to communicate effectively on the other issues that are very serious.
Neither the White House nor the State Department, which oversees international agreements, replied to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment on this report.
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