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John Podesta to succeed John Kerry as top adviser for international climate policy

Podesta will maintain his current portfolio advising the president while adding the climate duties. Kerry will shift to supporting Biden’s re-election campaign.
John Podesta speaks during CERAWeek.
John Podesta has been advising the president on clean energy and innovation.Mark Felix / AFP via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has picked senior White House adviser John Podesta to fill the international climate policy role being vacated by John Kerry, a senior administration official confirmed Wednesday.

A second senior official said Podesta will maintain his current portfolio advising the president while adding the climate duties.

“We need to keep meeting the gravity of this moment, and there is no one better than John Podesta to make sure we do,” White House chief of staff Jeff Zients said in a statement Wednesday. “John has — and will continue to be — at the helm of driving the implementation of the most significant climate law in history.”

Podesta will work from the White House; Kerry had been operating out of the State Department. He will also continue to oversee a team tasked with implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, a White House official said.

The Washington Post first reported Podesta’s new role.

Podesta, a longtime Democratic strategist who was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama, has been advising Biden on clean energy and innovation since he joined the White House in 2022.

Kerry, a former secretary of state and the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, has been the climate envoy since Biden entered the White House in 2021. After his departure, he will shift to supporting Biden's re-election campaign.

Campaign officials confirmed to NBC News last week that Biden's campaign was adding to its senior leadership, moving Jennifer O’Malley Dillon and Mike Donilon from their White House roles to top campaign jobs.

Kelly O'Donnell reported from Washington and Zoë Richards from New York.