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December 21, 2012

Environmental groups see Sen. John Kerry as pro-climate Secretary of State

Environmental groups on Friday praised President Barack Obama's decision to tap Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry to replace outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Kerry is seen as a champion of climate-friendly policies, said Larry Schweiger, CEO and president of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Climate change is one of two or three of the most serious threats our country now faces, if not the most serious, and the silence that has enveloped a once robust debate is staggering for its irresponsibility,” Kerry said in a speech on the Senate floor in June.

"Senator Kerry is a leader on the environment and climate change and he has worked across the aisle to build bipartisan support for action in the Senate," Schweiger said. "Senator Kerry understands the urgent need for U.S. leadership and global cooperation to tackle climate change and speed the transformation to a clean energy economy."

Less clear is how Kerry might act on the Keystone XL pipeline that's undergoing review at the State Department -- although a decision about building an oil pipeline from the tar sands in Canada could be released before Kerry is confirmed.

The Sierra Club held out hope Kerry would lead opposition to the pipeline:

"As Secretary, Senator Kerry will face numerous issues that are crucial to both the security of our nation and the future of our planet, including critical decisions on the Keystone XL pipeline and the international financing of dirty energy," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "We are eager to work with him as he brings his commitment to fighting climate disruption to the world stage."

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