WASHINGTON (January 27, 2021)—World Resources Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of two staff by the Biden-Harris administration to leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Energy. Andrew Light was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) and Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of International Affairs and Jennifer Wilcox was appointed Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) in the Office of Fossil Energy (FE).
“We are delighted that these two highly respected experts have joined the Biden-Harris administration to drive forward important work on climate and energy policy,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO, WRI. “During their time with WRI, Andrew and Jennifer made major contributions to clean energy, carbon removal and international climate negotiations. We know that these remarkable individuals will continue to play a transformative role as once again the United States becomes a leader on climate change within and beyond its borders.”
In his new position, Light will lead DOE’s Office of International Affairs, overseeing all bilateral and multilateral cooperation on energy. He will focus on building a new set of partnerships that ensure a global pathway to clean energy development and deployment that creates good-paying jobs at home and more resilient communities.
Light will leverage his experience at WRI as a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Global Climate program where he worked on a variety of U.S. and global climate topics and renewable energy strategies. Most of his work involved leading WRI’s high-level U.S.-China, U.S.-India, and U.S.-E.U. dialogues on climate and clean energy, which kept the door open on these topics during the darkest days of U.S. international engagement on climate action abroad. He also oversaw major media operations on the dire consequences of the U.S. leaving the Paris Agreement, and an attempt by the Trump White House to suppress the release of the 2018 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment, on which he also served as an author. During his time at WRI, he co-authored a number of publications and blogs.
He will also take a leave from his position as University Professor at George Mason University. He is returning to public service after serving as a senior adviser on climate change at the U.S. Department of State during the Obama administration and the negotiation of the Paris Agreement.
In her new position, Wilcox’s portfolio at DOE will include oversight of research and development; programs in Clean Coal and Carbon Management, Oil and Natural Gas systems; international engagements in clean fossil energy; and inter-agency engagements within the U.S. government.
Wilcox will leverage her experience as a Senior Fellow with WRI’s U.S. Climate program where she spearheaded efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the industrial sector and technological CO2 removal solutions, such as direct air capture and mineralization. She was the lead editor of the newly released Carbon Dioxide Removal Primer book. Wilcox will also take a leave from her position as a Presidential Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
WRI’s U.S. program is focused on addressing climate change, carbon dioxide removal, clean electricity, renewable energy and electric vehicles through policy innovation and stakeholder engagement.