Melanie Nakagawa Named NSC Director for Climate

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Melanie Nakagawa

WASHINGTON — Melanie Nakagawa is among the members of the National Security Council announced on Jan. 8 by the Biden-Harris Transition.

Nakagawa, who served on the Biden-Harris Transition focused on climate change and energy, has been named senior director for climate and energy. She will work on the U.S. return to the Paris Agreement and President Joe Biden’s objective of integrating climate change into all aspects of U.S. foreign policy.

In the Obama-Biden Administration, Nakagawa was appointed deputy assistant secretary for energy transformation at the U.S. State Department and served as a strategic advisor on climate change to Secretary of State John Kerry on the policy planning staff. Biden has named Kerry as special envoy for climate and given him a seat on the NSC.

Most recently, Nakagawa was director of climate strategy at Princeville Capital, leading their climate and sustainability investment strategy to back technology-enabled companies delivering transformative solutions to climate change.

Earlier in her career, she was the senior energy and environment counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

She provides her expertise on the board of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, REVERB Advisory Board, and as a Loomis Innovation Council member.

Born in New Jersey, she earned a J.D. and M.A. in international affairs from American University’s Washington College of Law and School of International Service, and an A.B. from Brown University.

The NSC’s primary role is to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policies, and to coordinate those policies across government agencies. Nakagawa and other staff members, under the direction of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, will help President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris keep the nation safe and secure.

“These crisis-tested, deeply experienced public servants will work tirelessly to protect the American people and restore America’s leadership in the world,” said Biden. “They will ensure that the needs of working Americans are front and center in our national security policymaking, and our country will be better for it.”

“This outstanding team of dedicated public servants will be ready to hit the ground running on day one to address the transnational challenges facing the American people — from climate to cyber,” said Harris. “They reflect the very best of our nation and they have the knowledge and experience to help build our nation back better for all Americans.”

“I am proud to announce that these incredibly accomplished individuals will be joining the National Security Council,” said incoming White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. “They will bring a wide range of perspectives to tackling the defining challenges of our time, and I thank them for their willingness to serve their country.”

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