Dr. Jonathan Pershing became the new Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change under U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday.
Pershing will work under U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern, appointed by Clinton in January as Obama’s lead climate negotiator (see Secretary Clinton appoints special climate envoy Todd Stern warning, “the urgency of the global climate crisis must not be underestimated”).
I know Pershing well, and he is another solid pick, with a great depth of expertise on domestic and international climate issues. Here are excerpts from press release by the World Resources Institute (WRI), Pershing has been director of the Climate and Energy Program since 2003:
“I can think of no other person more fitting to handle the complexities and political considerations of creating domestic and international policy on climate, the most important issue of our time,” said WRI President Jonathan Lash. “We’ve been honored to have him build our climate team.”
At WRI, Pershing provided strategic vision for the Climate and Energy Program, which, under his leadership, grew from 4 to more than 40 people, and has a 2009 budget of more than $6.5 million.
Pershing said, “We have a huge task to do: the change in administration has not solved the problem, but rather opened a door to the possibility that we can do so. I am fortunate to have spent the past five years working with the extraordinary group at WRI and honing my thinking on how we might do this. Now the implementation phase begins.”
Pershing has served on the California Market Advisory Committee, was the facilitator for the Northeast states’ Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and for the Illinois Climate Change Advisory Group, and has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress.
He has also advised major U.S. and multinational companies on the business strategies for climate change and building up green power. Pershing has been instrumental in WRI’s participation in the United States Climate Action Partnership.
On the international front, he is a regular participant in climate negotiations for the United Nations and was lead author for the recent Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report. Pershing has led WRI’s initiative to grow the GHG Protocol into an international standard for greenhouse-gas accounting and reporting, and has been an active participant in the design of WRI’s new standards for carbon capture and storage.
Before joining WRI, he worked as the head of the energy and environment division at the International Energy Agency and served as deputy director and science advisor for the State Department’s Office of Global Climate Change.
Kudos to Obama and Clinton for another solid addition to the climate team.