Pakistan-born Ali Zaidi has been appointed by US President-elect Joe Biden as his deputy national climate adviser. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: US President-elect Joe Biden has announced the appointment of Pakistan-born Ali Zaidi as his deputy national climate adviser.

He is the highest ranking Pakistani-American in the Biden administration. Zaidi currently serves as New York’s deputy secretary for energy and environment, leading the state’s efforts on climate change.

Ali Zaidi is “a leading climate expert and long-time adviser to the president-elect” Biden’s team said in a statement, adding that “Zaidi brings the cross-sector and multi-disciplinary experience needed to deliver a whole-of-government response to the climate crisis.”

Zaidi had helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden Administration’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement, the statement added.

Climate change crisis

“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”, Biden said in a statement. Zaidi said on Twitter that he was “profoundly humbled” and “deeply honoured” by the appointment, adding that “a whole-of-government approach” is needed to take on the climate crisis.

Zaidi, 33, immigrated from Pakistan and grew up in Pennsylvania. He studied at Harvard University and Georgetown University. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford University where he taught graduate courses on technology policy and studied the fiscal and financial impacts of climate change. Zaidi co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, the first-of-a-kind initiative to connect sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.

For eight years, he served in key economic and environmental policy roles in the Obama-Biden Administration during 2009-2017.

As White House Office of Management and Budget chief policy official in 2014, he helped design and draft Climate Action Plan and was part of the delegation that negotiated the historic Paris climate change agreement.