John Kerry: U.S. Should Lead the Way on Global Warming

Personal persuasion, taking the initiative, spreading the hurt are all part of his deal-making skills.

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As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry is no stranger to the challenges of international diplomacy. The skills of the Massachusetts Democrat are being tested as never before in this month's high-stakes negotiations in Copenhagen to hammer out a multinational agreement to combat global warming.

Listen Now: Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)

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"The United States is leading now," says Kerry. "We're saying the United States is going to step up with real reductions." But successful negotiation isn't about just promising to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he says. Personal persuasion is essential to cutting a deal, Kerry says, which is why he flew to the U.N. climate change conference for some high-level arm-twisting.

Spreading the gain, and the pain, is key, too. "Everybody's got to do a little bit of something, and everybody's got to do something that they don't like very much," says Kerry, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former presidential candidate. "That's what negotiating is all about."

The U.S. News podcast series, Leadership for the Next Decade, explores the ideas, innovations, and solutions that will inspire America for the future. Moderated by U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly, the podcasts feature exclusive interviews with leaders across the spectrum, from education, business, art, science, and medicine to government, public service, and philanthropy.