Biden promotes climate deputy to lead White House office as Gina McCarthy departs

Biden promotes climate deputy to lead White House office as Gina McCarthy departs

President Biden announced a shakeup of his climate and energy team Friday, saying that a top climate deputy — Ali Zaidi — will be promoted to replace Gina McCarthy, who is leaving as climate czar.

Mr. Biden also said John Podesta, a former adviser to President Obama and the founder of the liberal Center for American Progress, will serve as a senior adviser on Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation.

Mr. Biden announced the moves weeks after he and Democratic allies in Congress muscled sweeping climate provisions into law.

“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,” Mr. 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.”

Mr. Zaidi is well-known to the president, having served in the Obama administration when Mr. Biden was vice president. He provided “counsel and leadership on climate policy development, legislation, and executive action from day one” of the current administration and served on Mr. Biden’s campaign and transition teams.

Mr. Podesta, meanwhile, led Mr. Obama’s climate initiatives and served as co-chair of Mr. Obama’s transition team in 2008.

Ms. McCarthy served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Mr. Obama and returned to government to lead Mr. Biden’s White House Climate Policy Office.

The president credited her with reestablishing international work on battling climate change, setting ambitious goals for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and promoting electric vehicles.

Mr. Biden did not outline a reason for her departure but wished her well.

“Gina has been an invaluable member of my senior staff since Day 1 of the administration, and I wish her the best as she moves forward,” he said.