House Oversight Committee Chair Seeks Information from John Kerry Over Climate Negotiations With China

House Oversight Committee Chair Seeks Information from John Kerry Over Climate Negotiations With China
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry gestures as he addresses a press conference after a meeting with France's Economy and Finance Minister at The Ministry of Economy in Paris, France, on March 10, 2021. (Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images)
Jackson Richman

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) has demanded information from Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry over his negotiations with the Chinese Communist Party.

In a Thursday letter to Kerry, Comer also accused him of not handing over information related to his National Security Council role.

“Yet, you continue to engage in activities that could undermine our economic health, skirt congressional authority, and threaten foreign policy under the guise of climate advocacy,” he wrote. “The Committee requests documents and information to understand your role and provide necessary transparency over the SPEC and its activities.”

During last year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Kerry told The Associated Press that the United States was making progress with China on climate issues.

“We are going to work on the practicalities of how we move faster [to lower emissions],” he said. “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.”

At last month’s WEF, Kerry said that the key to combating global warming is “money, money, money, money, money, money, money.”

In his letter, Comer blasted those statements.

“As a member of the President’s cabinet, you should be representing the United States’ interests,” he said. “Your statements, however, consistently show disregard for American national security and taxpayer dollars.”

Comer also accused Kerry of downplaying China’s “human rights violations and its antagonism against the U.S. while promoting climate negotiations that the CCP does not even appear interested in entering.”

In an April 2021 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Kerry said that the United States needs China in the fight against climate change irrespective of Beijing’s atrocities, which include genocide against Uyghur Muslims.

“China doesn’t benefit by not having America as a partner in dealing with climate. And the United States doesn’t benefit from not having China as a partner in climate. So we’re just disciplined,” he said. “We have differences on economic rules, on cyber. We have other differences on human rights, geostrategic interests, but those differences do not have to get in the way of something that is as critical as dealing with climate.”

Comer slammed Kerry for not turning over information tied to his “office’s activities, spending, and staffing” between Jan. 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden took office and Kerry began his role, and the present.

Comer gave the office until Feb. 16 to present “all documents and communications regarding elements of the FY21, FY22, and FY23 budgets of the SPEC, including those discussed off the record.”

Comer also asked for “a list of all individuals present at any discussions where elements of the FY21, FY22, and FY23 budgets of the SPEC were discussed, whether on or off the record.”

Additionally, the committee requested “a full list, including names, titles, and salaries of all individuals currently and previously employed by the office of the SPEC, as well as all ethics and financial disclosures of those individuals.”

Comer also asked for “all documents and communications between any individual or individuals within the office of the SPEC and any third party, including but not limited to any environmental advocacy group or foreign government official.”

Finally, Comer demanded “all documents and communications regarding domestic and international travel of the SPEC.”

In a statement to The Epoch Times, a Department of State spokesman said that “while the Department does not comment on Congressional inquiries, the Department works to appropriately accommodate such requests.

“Separately, the Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate has and will continue to engage Members of Congress on international efforts to combat the climate crisis.”

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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