President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly tapped Gina McCarthy — the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency and current chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council — as his White House climate coordinator.
In her new role, which does not require Senate confirmation, McCarthy will be tasked with spearheading the effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. in the interest of getting the country on a path to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, which Biden promised to do during his campaign.
McCarthy already has a storied resume in environmental policy: In her past role heading the EPA, she stewarded Obama’s Clean Power Plan — the first national blueprint for shrinking carbon emissions from power plants — before it was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court, and also served as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, where she worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As climate coordinator, McCarthy will serve as the domestic counterpart to former Secretary of State John Kerry’s new role as the Biden administration’s international climate liaison, and both appointments are good indicators that Biden plans to take climate concerns seriously during his time in office. This is significant because, if you’ll recall, the last administration took a far more fallacious view of what many scientists refer to as the most pressing issue of our lifetimes; in just four years, President Donald Trump managed to slither out of the Paris Climate Agreement, repeal dozens of Obama-era rules aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and sprinkle a liberal dose of climate denialism into all of his communiques on the subject.
McCarthy, for her part, seems eager to hit the ground running: In a December 7 tweet, she tweeted in support of an intersectional approach to tackling climate change that also addresses labor concerns.
“Every department in the Biden administration should be centering climate action and clean energy in their federal policies and investments,” she wrote. “And they should do it in a way that continues to advance labor interests and environmental justice in communities across the country.”