John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate, will travel to Russia next week to discuss global collaboration to fight climate change with officials in the country, the State Department said in a statement.
The meeting comes weeks after President Biden’s high stakes meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and days after a $70 million global ransomware attack linked to Russian hackers that affected up to 1,500 businesses worldwide.
“As the president made clear to President Putin when they met, if the Russian government cannot or will not take action against criminal actors residing in Russia, we will take action or reserve the right to take action on our own,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news briefing on Tuesday.
Russia also participated remotely in a White House climate summit in April where Biden said he was heartened to hear Putin wanted to work with other countries on removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to The Hill.
FILE – In this Jan. 27, 2021, file photo Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
“The United States looks forward to working with Russia and other countries on that endeavor,” Biden said at the time. “It has great promise.”
But Putin’s government has set only unambitious goals for cutting emissions as the waste from burning fossil fuels heats up the planet.
China and then the United States lead the globe in climate-damaging emissions of coal and petroleum fumes, but Russia, at No. 4 globally due to its dependence on coal burning, is an outsize contributor to climate change relative to the size of its economy and population.
Kerry, former Secretary of State in the Obama administration, is encouraging other governments to commit to tough targets to cut emissions ahead of a U.N. global climate summit later this year.
Kerry will be the highest-ranking Biden official yet to visit the country.
He will be in Moscow from July 12-15, according to the State Department.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.