Q&A: US climate official bows out

By Sara Schonhardt | 05/03/2024 06:34 AM EDT

Christina Chan led loss and damage negotiations. Now she is leaving government.

Christina Chan of the State Department.

Christina Chan is leaving the State Department, where she represented the U.S. on the U.N.-backed loss and damage transitional committee. Sara Schonhardt/POLITICO's E&E News

The Biden administration is losing a climate official who has been at the center of a notoriously difficult issue: providing aid for climate-reeling nations.

For more than a year, Christina Chan has been leading U.S. negotiations over a fund for countries harmed by storms, heat waves and other severe climate effects. Her last day with the administration is Monday.

Her involvement with loss and damage, as it’s known in U.N. circles, goes back to 2008, when she was working with the humanitarian organization CARE and helping communities cope with the impacts of a warming planet.


She found herself in the spotlight last year as the sole U.S. representative on a 26-member committee tasked with designing the outlines of a new fund that could provide billions of dollars a year to developing countries that are losing land, cultural touchstones and economic fortitude to climate change.