KARACHI: A Pakistani-born climate expert has been chosen by US president-elect Joe Biden as his Deputy National Climate Adviser, according to a Dawn.com report.

Ali Zaidi, 33, is a leading climate expert and a longtime adviser to Mr Biden.

Mr Biden has announced appointments of key members of his climate team, which includes Mr Zaidi — who is currently New York’s deputy secretary for energy and environment — and will now serve as deputy White House climate coordinator.

The appointment will make Mr Zaidi the highest ranking Pakistani-Ameri­can in the Biden administration.

Mr Zaidi had helped draft and implement the Obama-Biden admi­nist­ra­tion’s Climate Action Plan and negotiate the Paris accord. “We need a whole-of-government approach to take on the climate crisis — in a way that spurs jobs and advances justice,” tweeted Mr Zaidi.

“I was floored when President-elect Joe Biden called. I still am — profoundly humbled, deeply honoured, and so ready to get to work!”

He will work under Gina McCarthy, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former president Barack Obama and now leads a major advocacy group, to coordinate the new administration’s domestic climate agenda.

A press release issued by Mr Biden’s transition team described Mr Zaidi as “a leading climate expert and longtime adviser 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.

Mr Zaidi, who immigrated from Pakistan, grew up in the Rust Belt outside Erie, Pennsylvania. He studied at Harvard and Georgetown universities.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

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