National Climate Adviser, White House
Accomplished Climate Advisor
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Gina McCarthy is back on the biggest stage of the climate fight.
As President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator, McCarthy led the creation of his signature climate-change policy, the Clean Power Plan. Then President Trump was elected, and his administration scrapped it.
A recent court decision threw out the Trump team’s replacement regulation, opening up a space for the Biden administration to propose its own emissions plan. And McCarthy is again on the scene, this time as President Biden’s climate czar, spearheading the effort to reorient the federal government to fight climate change. Biden has committed to putting the country on a path to net-zero emissions by 2050 and to hit net-zero power-sector emissions by 2035.
After Trump’s election, McCarthy headed to private-equity firm Pegasus Capital Advisors, taught at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and served as president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The longtime public servant—she had a stint as assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, and before that had clocked many hours at work in environmental posts for the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts—now is on to her biggest job yet. As the country’s top domestic climate official, the Massachusetts native is tasked with not only transforming the government’s approach to climate change but persuading everyone from businesses to reluctant members of Congress that the U.S. must transition to a green economy.
Approach and Motivations
Excerpted from Gina‘s Vignette profile
Environmental-justice advocate who views climate policy through a public-health lens; works with business and government leaders to address climate issues
- Believes public-health and environmental issues are inextricably intertwined and takes a human-centered approach to addressing both; calls attention to the disproportional effects of climate change on minority populations
- Over 20 years of service in state and local government informs McCarthy’s preference for crowdsourcing successful bipartisan environmental policies from states to inform federal decision-making
- Similar to President Biden, favors an all-of-government strategy to address climate change and seeks to collaborate with various agencies and private-sector stakeholders, including oil and gas executives, to build an equitable, clean-energy economy
Believes that scientific data should be communicated clearly to the public in order to address misconceptions about climate change
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