President Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, said that while the Ukraine refugee crisis is a “problem” amid Russia’s invasion, it pales in comparison to the wave of migration that will come if climate change is not addressed.

Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, said during the annual CERAWeek conference in Houston Monday that the U.S. must not lose sight of its path toward clean energy now that the RussiaUkraine war has accelerated the global energy crisis.


“We’re already seeing climate refugees around the world,” he said. “If you think migration has been a problem in Europe in the Syrian War or even from what we see now, wait until you see 100 million people for whom the entire food production capacity has collapsed.”

President Biden told reporters Tuesday that he “can’t do much” about rising gas prices and blamed the situation on Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The president announced Tuesday a ban on Russian oil, gas and energy imports to the U.S. in an effort to weaken Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the move is expected to push U.S. gas prices even higher as they soar past levels last seen during the Great Recession.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the national average was $4.29. While Republicans and some Democrats have called for expanded domestic oil production as a solution, Biden has continued to push his green agenda.

“Loosening environmental regulations won’t lower prices,” the president declared in a tweet Tuesday evening. “But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles, powered by clean energy, will mean that no one will have to worry about gas prices. It will mean tyrants like Putin won’t be able to use fossil fuels as a weapon.”

Kerry said Monday that the goal of the Biden administration is to move toward “energy security” in a “clean energy-based economy.”

“We are driven not by politics, not by ideology,” he said. “We’re driven by mathematics and physics, by science, which tells us, and has been for 35 years or more, what will happen if we don’t do X, Y, and Z.

“And we have the advantage now of having Mother Nature herself share with us the realities of what happens if you don’t do the things that we’ve been talking about for 25, 30 years or more,” he added.


Kerry has made similar comments linking climate change to the crisis in Ukraine. Last month, he told BBC Arabic that the war will have a “profound negative impact on the climate.”

“You have a war, and obviously you’re going to have massive emissions consequences to the war. But equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus, you’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact,” he said.