“Rock Star” Gina McCarthy ‘Inspired Choice’ for National Climate Advisor

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Who in the world is Gina McCarthy, and why should I care?
  • She works for President Joe Biden as the first White House National Climate Advisor. As such she will advise Biden on domestic climate change policy and lead the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy
  • This enthusiastic Boston native comes to the White House with her accent fully intact, her passion for climate change fully revealed
  • President of the American Meteorological Society Jenni L. Evans said:

‘Gina is a rock star. We see climate change. It’s there. She will talk about how to think about it. How do we give people a sense of self-determination and not a sense that they should slit their wrists?’

Screen-Shot-2021-01-31-at-10.48.08-AM "Rock Star" Gina McCarthy 'Inspired Choice' for National Climate Advisor Domestic Policy Environment Featured Politics Top Stories

SOURCE: Screenshot via YouTube.
 What Shaped Her?
  • One of her heroes is Margaret Mead, the famous U.S. anthropologist, and scientist
  • Her family saw public service as an honorable profession, and that’s what she grew up wanting to be in it
  • Growing up, her community consists of “really hard-working Irish people:”

‘My parents grew up in the Dorchester area. There were 15 kids in my father’s family. I was the youngest of 50 first cousins on my father’s side. So we really had a fun, big family when I was growing up…[My father] was a schoolteacher in the Boston school systems for 40 years.’

Her Quote:

  • McCarthy studied both primitive cultures and primates in college, which she insists has prepared her well for her current task:

‘The study of primitive culture was the best education I could have for working in government.’

  • After Biden won, McCarthy posted a comment on the council’s (NRDC) website’s blog. She said the election was a “unifying call for bold action on climate:”

‘As with the pandemic, we need a climate response that’s grounded in sound science, puts people back to work, and expands protections and opportunities for low-income communities and people of color.’

‘With real benefits for everyone, that’s a plan we should all be able to get behind as a nation, starting with shifting to clean energy — and quickly.’

She also said:

‘A lot of people in a lot of states in a lot of cities and towns, and in the private sector, have been developing the technologies of the future. And the future is now!’

What You Do Not Know — Yet

  • Gina is active on both Instagram @ginanrdc and Twitter @GinaNRDC
  • McCarthy is partial to celebrity chef Ina Garten:

‘I love the Barefoot Contessa. I love her recipes, and I love her laugh.’

  • She watches Giada de Laurentiis who has vegetarian recipes and the others as she reads documents in the evening. McCarthy said:

‘I find it very comforting. I don’t know why.’

  • She golfs, but “not exceptionally well”
  • As President and Chief Executive officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) McCarthy sued the Trump administration more than 100 times
  • The Council, is made up of over 700 attorneys, scientists, advocates, and policy experts
  • She was the 13th Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Barak Obama and an American environmental health and air quality expert
  • She is married with three children.

Quotes about Her

  • Environmentalist and founder of nonprofit 350.org Bill McKibben called McCarthy “an inspired choice” in a statement and tweet:

    ‘[McCarthy] knows bureaucracies, and she knows the issues, and she’s funny and tough and I’m pretty sure she understands we’re out of time…And Ali Zaidi as deputy is no slouch either.’

  • Former New Jersey Governor and EPA administrator under President George W. Bush Christine Todd Whitman said:

‘It’s not about [McCarthy], it’s about the agency… Republicans lost the [presidential] election and they have to realize that this is the president’s choice of nominee. They can go after the president, but Gina McCarthy should get an up-and-down vote.’

How She Works

  • McCarthy is:

    ‘Known for her pragmatic approaches and disarming, plain-speaking style.’

  • CEO and President of the Sustainability nonprofit Ceres, Mindy Lubber noted that with former Obama Secretary of State and Biden International Climate Czar John Kerry and McCarthy in key climate roles, America ‘Is now well-positioned to support efforts at home and abroad to tackle the climate crisis while also protecting human health and the environment:”

“As the second-largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world, it is beyond critical that the US cut emissions nearly in half by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2040.’

  • Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for 30-plus years
  • She is a career public servant in both Democratic and Republican administrations
  • As the head of EPA under President Obama, she made historic progress to achieve the administration’s public health and environmental protection goals and Climate Action Plan
  • She helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Her EPA initiatives “cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases, and strengthened chemical safety to better protect more Americans, especially the most vulnerable, from negative health impacts.”
  • In 2015, McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and
  • She worked with the UN and WHO
  • And McCarthy is fully cognizant of all “aspects of climate, air quality, chemical safety, environmental justice and health equity, and water, land, and natural resource protection and restoration discussions.”

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology
  • Tufts University, Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy.

Career

Her positions included:

  • President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation
  • Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development
  • Undersecretary for policy for Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
  • Environmental adviser to five Massachusetts governors, including former Governor Mitt Romney
  • Director McCarthy and the Chair of their Board of Advisors at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s new climate and health science center, The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment
  • Pegasus Capital Advisors, a private equity firm, where she served as an operating advisor focused on sustainability and wellness investments
  • Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
  • Finalized a rule under the Clean Water Act which proposed a new detailed and inclusive definition of “waters of the United States.”

She is the seventh in the series Meet The Women of Joe Biden’s Administration: Gina McCarthy. I hope you enjoy hearing about this remarkable woman as much as I enjoyed writing them. You will like her.

Sources

  • https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/epa-gina-mccarthy-obama-environment-trump-1069029/
  • https://iop.harvard.edu/fellows/gina-mccarthy
  • https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/16/nation/meet-gina-mccarthy-mass-native-who-is-set-serve-white-house-climate-coordinator/
  • https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/12/16/nation/meet-gina-mccarthy-mass-native-who-is-set-serve-white-house-climate-coordinator/
  • https://www.hks.harvard.edu/faculty/gina-mccarthy
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2013/07/31/five-things-you-dont-know-about-epas-gina-mccarthy-but-should/
  • https://irishamerica.com/2014/07/the-administrator/

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

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