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Elliot Diringer in 2006. Photo: Roni Rekomaa/AFP via Getty Images)

Elliot Diringer, a well-known figure in climate diplomacy circles, has joined the State Department as the Biden administration looks to step up global collaboration.

Driving the news: Diringer's auto-reply email at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), where he had long been a senior executive vice president, says he began the job on Feb. 18.

Alec Gerlach, C2ES' communications director, confirms that Diringer left to join State in a climate-focused role.

Why it matters: He's one of several well-known names who will work on the team led by John Kerry, the former senator and secretary of state who is President Biden's special climate envoy.

  • Diringer also adds to the list of senior energy and climate officials with prior federal government experience.
  • He served in President Clinton's administration, including three years at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

What we don't know: The precise parameters of the gig. State did not comment on Diringer's role specifically.

  • But a spokesperson said more broadly that the administration is looking to strengthen climate capabilities at State and U.S. embassies after the Trump administration "underinvested."
  • "We hope to share more details on the special presidential envoy for climate’s team and its organizational structure soon, after consultations with Congress have concluded," the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, C2ES is adding to its roster. The group is bringing on climate diplomacy veteran Kaveh Guilanpour as its VP for international strategies, Gerlach said.

His many prior roles include, per C2ES, include time as a lead climate negotiator for the European Union and the Alliance of Small Island States, and recently as a senior member of the UN Secretary General's Climate Action Team.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.

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