In 2019, New York passed a groundbreaking climate law, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The climate law codified Governor Cuomo’s climate vision, committing New York to among the most ambitious climate objectives in the world, including 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040 and an 85 percent reduction in GHG emissions (net zero) by 2050. The climate law also sets a legally binding requirement for New York to deliver at least 35 percent of all benefits from new climate investments to disadvantaged communities.
Ali Zaidi, Deputy Secretary to Governor Cuomo for Energy and Environment and New York’s Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance, will discuss New York’s plan to implement this ambitious climate agenda, especially in the context of COVID-19 and economic head winds. Zaidi will share how New York is catalyzing pollution reduction across all sectors of the economy, while elevating climate justice and climate jobs. Zaidi will also highlight the implications of New York’s implementation path for other jurisdictions at the state and national level
Ali A. Zaidi was appointed Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment and Chairman of Climate Policy and Finance in 2020. Mr. Zaidi leads the Governor’s efforts on all aspects of climate policy and finance, including implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. He previously served as a Precourt Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and as an attorney in private practice. While in private practice, Mr. Zaidi co-founded Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a first-of-a-kind initiative to connect sustainability-focused startups with pro bono legal services.
For eight years, Mr. Zaidi served in key economic and environmental policy roles in the Obama-Biden Administration. In 2014, President Obama appointed him Associate Director at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In this role, he served as OMB’s chief policy official for implementation of the Climate Action Plan, which he helped design and draft, and was part of the delegation that negotiated the historic international climate change agreement in Paris. Before OMB, Mr. Zaidi served in a number of roles in the Obama-Biden Administration, including as the Deputy Director of Energy Policy for the White House Domestic Policy Council; and as Senior Director for Cabinet Affairs at the White House.
Mr. Zaidi has also served on a number of boards, including as Vice Chair of the Center for Carbon Removal, Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Director of America’s Promise Alliance and of The Generations Initiative; and as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute EEP’s Strategy Group on Future of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. He holds an A.B. and J.D. from Harvard University and Georgetown University, where he was editor of the Georgetown Law Journal (GLJ) and executive editor of GLJ’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure.
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