The White House was silent when asked by Fox News Digital whether it agrees with Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry’s recent comments lamenting the Ukraine war’s carbon footprint.
Spokespeople for both the White House and National Security Council failed to provide a comment about Kerry’s remarks after they were contacted multiple times by Fox News Digital. Last week, Kerry doubled down on past comments that a key consequence of the ongoing Ukraine war stemming from Russia’s invasion last year is increased global greenhouse gas emissions.
“Lots of parts of the world are exacerbating the problem right now, but when you have bombs going off and you have damage to septic tanks or to power centers etcetera, you have an enormous release of greenhouse gas, methane, all of the family of greenhouse gasses and the result is it’s adding to the problem,” Kerry said during an interview with MSNBC on July 10.
Kerry added that the war in Ukraine is a fight “we have to make,” but that there are “ancillary impacts as a result.”
Kerry’s remarks were later widely condemned by conservatives and Republicans including presidential candidate Nikki Haley who tweeted “you can’t make this stuff up” and “the end of the Biden (Harris) administration can’t come fast enough.”
The comments were the latest example of Kerry warning about the climate change implications of war in Ukraine. Shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, for example, Kerry told multiple media outlets that he was concerned about emissions from a potential military conflict.
“Equally, importantly you’re going to lose people’s focus,” Kerry told BBC on Feb. 21, 2022. “You’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted and I think it could have a damaging impact. Hopefully (Russian President Vladimir Putin) would realize that in the northern part of his country, they used to live on 66% of a nation that was over frozen land. Now, it’s thawing.”
“I am concerned in terms of the climate efforts that a war is the last thing you need with respect to a united effort to try to deal with the climate challenge,” Kerry told Reuters in a separate interview that same day. “Obviously we hope that we can compartmentalize, but it’s just made that much more difficult without any question.”
And months after the Russian invasion, in April 2022, Kerry again expressed concern about how the war may cause people to lose concentration on fighting global warming.
“What’s happened in Ukraine has not helped to concentrate people on reducing [emissions],” Kerry told The Washington Post on April 21, 2022. “It’s concentrated people on trying to find substitutes for Russian gas and to meet higher levels of production because of low supply. But it obviously does interrupt the momentum that we had created coming out of Glasgow.”
More recently, Kerry told The New York Times in June that the war shows “climate change is a threat multiplier.”
Shortly after taking office in 2021, President Biden appointed Kerry to be the U.S. SPEC, a position that hadn’t previously existed, didn’t require Senate approval, and gives him a spot on the president’s cabinet and National Security Council. The SPEC office is housed at the State Department and has an estimated $13.9 million annual budget with approval for 45 personnel.
Since taking on the role, Kerry has traveled worldwide, attending high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements in an effort to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy alternatives.