Wednesday, March 23, 2016

New Climate Czar Charged with Making Paris Promises a Reality

U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern (right) announced yesterday he will step down next month. Replacing him will be his former No. 2, Jonathan Pershing (left), who is currently principal deputy director of the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. (Credit: International Institute for Sustainable Development) Click to Enlarge.
Jonathan Pershing, who will become the top U.S. diplomat on climate issues next month, has spent the last three years at the Department of Energy working to make the U.S. commitment in Paris easier to achieve.

Since stepping down in 2013 as deputy to outgoing U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, Pershing has been responsible for helping DOE align its advanced energy research and policy with the Obama administration's climate priorities.  That's meant supporting everything from U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan to the U.S. position at last year's landmark climate summit in the French capital.

As he steps into his former boss's shoes on April 1 for the final months of the Obama administration, officials say Pershing is uniquely qualified to oversee implementation of the agreement he helped negotiate while also offering the technical and policy expertise he burnished in his DOE role to help the world meet its targets.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in a statement yesterday lauded his outgoing senior climate adviser's "wise counsel and good humor."

"His science background and analytical skills have been put to very good use in his consistently collegial fashion," Moniz said.

Pershing, a geologist and geophysicist who contributed to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, oversaw DOE's release of the first Quadrennial Energy Review last year, which focused on the nation's energy infrastructure.  He also had a hand in launching Mission Innovation -- a 20-nation pact introduced in Paris that called for countries to double clean energy research and development funding over five years to address climate change.

His energy expertise will be vital this year as the United Nations' climate negotiations turn to making sure the Paris pledges see action on the ground, the Energy secretary said.

Read more at New Climate Czar Charged with Making Paris Promises a Reality

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