Varun Sivaram

US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

Senior Director for Clean Energy and Innovation

Dr. Varun Sivaram is a physicist, bestselling author, and clean energy technology expert with experience spanning the corporate, public, and academic sectors. He currently serves in the Biden-Harris administration as the senior director for clean energy and innovation to Secretary John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. He leads Secretary Kerry's clean energy team in service of the Biden administration's international efforts to tackle the climate crisis through a swift transition to net-zero emissions, and he spearheads several U.S. initiatives including the First Movers Coalition. Previously, as chief technology officer of ReNew Power, Dr. Sivaram led research and development for a multibillion-dollar company recognized as India’s largest producer of renewable energy as well as its most innovative energy company. A widely published scientist and innovation scholar, Sivaram has served on the faculty of Georgetown University and Columbia University. He has also shaped government policies supportive of innovation as the director of the energy and climate program at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a senior energy advisor to the Los Angeles mayor and New York governor's office. He has served on the boards of the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy; on the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council for the Energy Transition; as senior fellow at the Aspen Institute, ITIF, and Energy for Growth; and on the board of directors of Peridot Acquisition Corp. (NYSE:PDAC). TIME Magazine named him one of its "100 Next most influential people in the world," MIT Technology Review named him one of its top 35 innovators, and PV Magazine called him "the Hamilton of the Solar Industry." His books include "Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet"—which The Economist called "prescient"—"Digital Decarbonization: Promoting Digital Innovations to Advance Clean Energy Systems," and "Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission," which was endorsed by Sec. Kerry as "a plan to make the United States the world leader in clean energy innovation." Bill Gates praised his essay in Foreign Affairs as "one of the best arguments I've read for why the US should invest in a clean energy revolution." His TED Talk on India's clean energy transition has been watched more than one million times. A Rhodes and Truman Scholar, Sivaram holds a PhD in condensed matter physics from Oxford University and undergraduate degrees from Stanford University.

Sessions With Varun Sivaram

Monday, 7 March

  • 04:30pm - 05:00pm (CST) / 07/mar/2022 10:30 pm - 07/mar/2022 11:00 pm

    How to Accelerate the Energy Transition Across Multiple Sectors

    Carbon Management/Decarbonization

    For climate change action to succeed, progress needs to be made across multiple industry sectors. For some, electrification and efficiency gains can play a major role, while other, “hard-to-abate” sectors including cement, steel, and some transportation may rely more on carbon offsets. What does it take to unlock the potential or rapid decarbonization across multiple sectors? Which industrial or government entities can most help to achieve this globally?