Pakistan-born Ali A Zaidi has been appointed White House’s Deputy National Climate Advisor in the Biden-Harris administration.
A statement issued on 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”.
Zaidi is currently the highest-ranking Pakistani-origin White House official under the Biden-Harris government so far.
“We need a whole-of-government approach to take on the climate crisis — in a way that spurs jobs and advances justice,” said Zaidi on Twitter. “I was floored when US President-elect Joe Biden called. I still am — profoundly humbled, deeply honored, and so ready to get to work!”
Who is Ali A Zaidi?
Zaidi immigrated from Pakistan and grew up outside Erie, Pennsylvania. He received an AB from Harvard University and JD from Georgetown University.
Zaidi is currently serving the state of New York as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, and 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 co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a Stanford-coordinated initiative that equips sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.
“A longtime advisor to President-elect Biden on climate matters, Zaidi brings the cross-sector and multi-disciplinary experience needed to deliver a whole-of-government response to the climate crisis,” read the statement.
“During the Obama-Biden Administration, Zaidi served as Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy, and Science for the Office of Management and Budget and as Deputy Director of Energy Policy for the Domestic Policy Council — helping to design and implement a wide range of domestic and international policies.”
“Zaidi has advised non-profits, including as a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and counseled the private sector, as an attorney who helped launch a sustainable investment practice.”