Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry’s office participated in multiple discussions with left-wing environmental groups that appeared to inform policymaking decisions, according to emails shared with Fox News Digital.
Officials in the SPEC office sought to discuss key agenda items as recently as December with non-governmental organizations like the Sierra Club and the United Nations Foundation, according to documents obtained by government watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) and shared with Fox News Digital.
The documents, which were obtained via information request, did not show any similar conversations or meetings with fossil fuel energy groups or companies.
“You’ll see from the participants’ list that there’s a lot of interest in this conversation,” Alden Meyer, a climate policy consultant and senior associate at the green group Third Generation Environmentalism, wrote in a May 2021 email planning a Zoom call between environmental organizations and SPEC officials.
Meyer’s subject line was titled “Zoom info and topics for tomorrow’s G7 discussion” and the email copied four SPEC officials whose names were redacted and leaders of 13 environmental groups. The email, which came weeks ahead of high-level G7 meetings in the U.K., included various topics the parties planned to discuss during the virtual call.
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Among the topics, the officials planned to discuss whether the U.S. would support a G7 statement ending fossil fuel infrastructure financing, phasing out traditional gas-powered vehicle sales and phasing out coal power generation. The call also included a conversation about whether the U.S. would coordinate a global effort reducing methane emissions.
The email also showed that the participants would discuss a so-called “clean counteroffer” to the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive infrastructure project stretching from China to Europe.
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While it is unclear the exact influence of the policy discussion, President Biden announced a $200 billion counter to the BRI in June that prioritized climate change and the U.S. entered into a global methane pledge during the United Nations climate summit in November. Biden also set a goal to ensure at least 50% of all vehicle sales are electric by 2030 in August 2021.
In addition, a December 2021 email from Jake Schmidt, the managing director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) international program, revealed that several environmental groups were invited to a briefing from the SPEC office and National Security Council (NSC), which Kerry has a position on, about overseas fossil fuel finance.
“I’ll send a calendar invite with the Zoom details but wanted to put this on your radar,” Schmidt wrote to other environmentalists on Dec. 16, 2021. “The State Department (ENR and SPEC) plus the NSC have offered a briefing … to brief the community on the International Energy Engagement Guidance.”
The email was sent to leaders of Friends of the Earth, Oxfam, Sierra Club, Oil Change International, the Climate Reality Project, World Resources Institute, the Bank Information Center, RMI and the Center for International Environmental Law, which all actively push a rapid transition from fossil fuel energy to green sources like wind and solar.
A similar email was not sent to industry groups favoring traditional forms of power like oil and natural gas, according to the documents shared with Fox News Digital.
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“Just as FOIA revealed that teachers’ unions exerted undue influence in the development of policy regarding school reopening, these conversations seem to provide evidence that large, powerful activist organizations may be pushing the same expensive climate policy that just passed as what some are terming the ‘Green New Deal Lite,’” PPT Director Michael Chamberlain told FOX News Digital.
“For an administration claiming to be guided by the science, there are more than a few indications that the input of their political allies may be a bigger driver of policy,” he continued. “Little wonder that the American public’s trust in its government is in free fall.”
A State Department spokesperson directed Fox News Digital to the agency’s “Requester Service Center,” but didn’t address questions about the emails or whether Kerry’s office similarly engages with fossil fuel energy groups.
The email dump also revealed that the SPEC office prefers to keep the identities of its employees hidden, choosing to redact every official’s from public view. A previous Fox News Digital report showed that SPEC officials have extensive ties to the same environmental organizations the office consulted on policy.
The documents further showed that officials discussed keeping certain discussions off “paper” to seemingly avoid scrutiny.
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