Fmr. Secretary John Kerry

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

  • Signed the Paris Climate Agreement on behalf of the United States in 2015
  • Launched a bipartisan organization with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon in the U.S. by 2050
  • 68th United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama

John Kerry served as America’s 68th Secretary of State, the first sitting Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman to serve as Secretary in over a century.

Secretary Kerry elevated environmental challenges as diplomatic priorities, from oceans to hydrofluorocarbons. He was a key architect of the Paris Climate Accord, and signed the historic agreement to reduce carbon emissions with his granddaughter on his lap. The New York Times described Kerry as “America’s Mr. Diplomacy,” leading on challenges from nuclear non-proliferation to extremism.

A Yale University graduate, Kerry volunteered for the Navy, serving two tours of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts. Kerry was elected Massachusetts’ Lieutenant Governor in 1982 and US Senator in 1984.

In 2009, Kerry became Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The first hearing he Chaired was on climate change. He also led Senate efforts to ratify a landmark nonproliferation treaty, successfully intervened in Afghanistan’s election crisis, and negotiated bipartisan domestic climate change legislation.

Kerry’s 2018 memoir, Every Day Is Extra, was a best-seller. He has most recently been Yale University’s Distinguished Fellow for Global Affairs and Visiting Distinguished Statesman at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace spearheading programming on climate change and oceans. He co-founded World War Zero to unite unlikely allies on climate change and is a Board Member of the American Security Project.

He and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry have a blended family of two daughters, three sons, and seven grandchildren.

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