National Climate Advisor and Assistant to the President
White House Climate Policy Office
- Opening Keynote Addresses
Ali Zaidi currently serves as the second-ever National Climate Advisor and Assistant to the President. In this role, he leads the White House Climate Policy Office, which is responsible for coordinating the policy-making process on domestic climate-policy issues; coordinating domestic climate-policy advice to the President; ensuring that domestic climate-policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President’s stated goals and that those goals are being effectively pursued; and monitoring implementation of the President’s domestic climate-policy agenda. He previously served in this office as Deputy National Climate Advisor under the leadership of National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy.
Zaidi joined the Biden-Harris Administration after serving as the state of New York’s Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, where he lead the state’s efforts on climate change — driving investment into infrastructure and innovation, empowering workers and communities, and boosting economic and environmental resilience. Zaidi also taught graduate courses on technology policy and studied the fiscal and financial impacts of climate change as an adjunct professor at Stanford University. During that time, Zaidi also 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 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. 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.
Zaidi immigrated from Pakistan and grew up outside Erie, Pennsylvania. He received an A.B. from Harvard University and J.D. from Georgetown University, where he was an editor of the Georgetown Law Journal.