• Stern helped shape landmark Paris climate agreement last year
  • Energy Department climate adviser Pershing named replacement

Todd Stern, the U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change who helped shape the landmark Paris agreement, is stepping down.

Stern has been President Barack Obama’s chief climate negotiator since 2009 and will leaving that position April 1, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement Monday. 

A lawyer by training, Stern was a crucial figure in Paris last year when envoys from 195 nations crafted a sweeping agreement to curb temperature increases and cut emissions around the globe. The accord, scheduled to be ratified at the United Nations headquarters in New York on April 22, was hailed as the first universal climate agreement. Stern, who was White House staff secretary under President Bill Clinton, was also involved in climate negotiations in Kyoto.

“He played an enormous role in achieving so many of our climate milestones,” Kerry said in the statement.

Stern will be replaced by Jonathan Pershing, a scientist who for the past three years has been the senior climate adviser to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Pershing was previously a member of the International Panel on Climate Change, which in 2007 shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

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