- Zaidi helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.
Pakistan-born Ali A. Zaidi, 33, has been appointed White House’s Deputy National Climate Advisor in the Biden-Harris administration.
A statement issued on the Biden-Harris transition website said Zaidi will be part of the team that advances the president-elect’s “agenda leading the world to confront the climate crisis – creating good-paying jobs, building resilient communities, and making historic investments in environmental justice”.
“This brilliant, tested, trailblazing team will be ready on day one to confront the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response rooted in science and equity. They share my belief that we have no time to waste to confront the climate crisis, protect our air and drinking water, and deliver justice to communities that have long shouldered the burdens of environmental harms,” Biden said in a press release.
A press release issued by Biden’s transition team described Zaidi as “a leading climate expert and longtime advisor to the president-elect,” noting that he helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement.
The press release further stated that “Zaidi brings the cross-sector and multi-disciplinary experience needed to deliver a whole-of-government response to the climate crisis.”
A pleased Zaidi posted on Twitter saying, “We need a whole-of-government approach to take on the climate crisis — in a way that spurs jobs and advances justice,” he wrote. “I was floored when President-elect @JoeBiden called. I still am — profoundly humbled, deeply honored, and so ready to get to work!”
Zaidi will serve under Biden’s pick for national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Barack Obama. Zaidi is the highest-ranking Pakistani-American to be appointed by Biden.
The former Edinboro, Pennsylvania resident, currently serves as the deputy secretary to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for energy and environment and as the chairman of climate policy and finance for the state, leading the state’s efforts on climate change — driving investment into infrastructure and innovation, empowering workers and communities, and boosting economic and environmental resilience.
He is also an adjunct professor at Stanford University — where he has taught graduate courses on technology policy and studied the fiscal and financial impacts of climate change.
Zaidi has also co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a Stanford-coordinated initiative that equips sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.
Previously, Zaidi served in the Obama administration, working in the Office of Budget and Management, at the U.S. Department of Energy and as a senior economic and environmental policy official.
Zaidi moved with his parents from Pakistan to Edinboro, Pennsylvania in 1993, when he was 5 years old. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Anu Ghosh immigrated to the U.S. from India in 1999. Back in India she was a journalist for the Times of India in Pune for 8 years and a graduate from the Symbiosis Institute of Journalism and Communication. In the U.S., she obtained her Masters and PhD. in Communications from The Ohio State University. Go Buckeyes! She has been involved in education for the last 15 years, as a professor at Oglethorpe University and then Georgia State University. She currently teaches Special Education at Oak Grove Elementary. She is also a mom to two precocious girls ages 11 and 6.