President Biden has announced that John Podesta will serve as Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation and Ali Zaidi will be promoted to Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor. In his new role, Podesta will oversee implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansive clean energy and climate provisions and will chair the President’s National Climate Task Force in support of this effort. Zaidi will step into the role of National Climate Advisor and will be vice-chair of the National Climate Task Force. Gina McCarthy will depart the White House on September 16.
“Under Gina McCarthy and Ali Zaidi’s leadership, my administration has taken the most aggressive action ever, from historic legislation to bold executive actions, to confront the climate crisis head-on,” President Biden said. “The Inflation Reduction Act is the biggest step forward on clean energy and climate in history, and it paves the way for additional steps we will take to meet our clean energy and climate goals.
“We are fortunate that John Podesta will lead our continued innovation and implementation. His deep roots in climate and clean energy policy and his experience at senior levels of government mean we can truly hit the ground running to take advantage of the massive clean energy opportunity in front of us.
“I am immensely grateful for Gina’s service, and I am proud to announce the promotion of Ali to National Climate Advisor. Gina has been an invaluable member of my senior staff since day one of the Administration, and I wish her the best as she moves forward.”
John Podesta is the founder and chair of the Board of Directors for the Center for American Progress. Podesta also Chairs the board of ClimateWorks Foundation and serves on the Board of the Climate Jobs National Resource Center. Podesta served as counselor to President Barack Obama, where he was responsible for coordinating the administration’s climate policy and initiatives. In 2008, he served as co-chair of President Obama’s transition team. He was a member of the U.N. Secretary General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Podesta previously served as White House chief of staff to President William J. Clinton. He chaired Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president in 2016.
Ali Zaidi is currently the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Climate Advisor. Zaidi is a longtime advisor to President Biden, having provided counsel and leadership on climate policy development, legislation, and executive action from day one of the Administration and on the Biden presidential transition and campaign. Zaidi served in leadership roles for climate change and energy during the Obama-Biden Administration and as New York’s Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance and Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment, where he led the state’s efforts on climate change and clean energy.
Gina McCarthy returned to public service to lead the first-ever White House Climate Policy Office as Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor. McCarthy also chairs the President’s National Climate Task Force. During McCarthy’s tenure, the Biden-Harris administration re-established U.S. climate leadership, setting a national target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent by 2030; secured the largest legislative wins on climate in U.S. history; advanced the largest annual deployment of solar, wind, and batteries; brought together the U.S. auto sector around an all-electric future; took bold steps to tackle super-pollutants; and elevated work on climate adaptation and resilience. McCarthy centered climate action around workers and communities, prioritizing good-paying union jobs and the critical work of environmental justice.