EXCLUSIVE U.S. climate envoy Kerry names Rick Duke as deputy

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Vice President give a press statement ahead of the meeting of the EU-U.S. High-Level Climate Action Group at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium December 9 2021. Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry has nominated one of his senior advisors, Rick Duke - the architect behind an international deal last year to reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane - to be his deputy.

In a statement to Reuters, Kerry said Duke will play a leading role in implementing U.S. commitments under the Glasgow Climate Pact and encourage other governments to implement emission reduction targets for 2030 that align with the goal of keeping global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 C.

"Rick's strategic vision has played a critical role in the last two decades of U.S. climate efforts," Kerry said.

Duke previously served as a special adviser on climate change to former President Barack Obama and as a fellow at the Brookings Institution think-tank. He will join fellow deputy special envoy on climate change Sue Biniaz to lead U.S. international climate policy in 2022, replacing Jonathan Pershing, who resigned from the post last month.

As Kerry's advisor, Duke played a lead role in forming last year's Global Methane Pledge with the European Union, a voluntary global partnership aimed at slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels. Over 100 countries have signed up.

He also helped craft the U.S. climate strategy to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and led U.S. efforts to sign the United States on to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to tackle hydrofluorocarbons, ozone-depleting substances used in refrigeration.

Pershing will return to his previous job managing the Hewlett Foundation’s climate programs in California. He told the New York Times last month he had only planned to stay at the State Department for a year.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel

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