President Obama nominated Senator John Kerry (D-MA) December 21 to be the next Secretary of State. Kerry, who is widely expected to win Senate confirmation, is a decades-long advocate of addressing global warming, and has called climate change a major security and foreign policy challenge.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) chose a replacement December 20 for longtime energy aide Chris Miller, who is stepping down at the end of the year. Alexander McDonough will become senior policy advisor for energy and the environment; he has worked in the office for seven years, first as a legislative correspondent and then as a legislative assistant for energy and the environment, as well as a policy adviser for natural resources.