Gina McCarthy Named National Climate Adviser: “Defeating This Threat Is the Fight of our Lifetimes”

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In his newest round of appointments, President-Elect Joe Biden selected former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy as the first national climate adviser. In her new role, she will lead the new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, pulling from her experience under the Obama administration. 

McCarthy spoke alongside fellow climate and energy appointees on Saturday, Dec. 19 to accept the role in Biden’s historic administration:

She recalled her experiences with environmental pollution, as far back as her childhood in Boston:

“A beach day for my family was a swim and Boston Harbor. And at that point in time, it meant coming out of the water with oil and other things stuck to our skin. So we’d have to dry and clean ourselves all at the same time,” McCarthy explained. “So I figured out early that there was just an intrinsic connection between our environment and our health.”

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“Defeating the threat [of climate change] is the fight of our lifetimes. And our success will require the engagement of every community, every sector in our nation, and every country in the world.”

Biden described McCarthy as “a policy wonk and a people person, a problem solver, and a coalition builder.” He expects her work to help reduce pollution and battle the climate crisis, leading to a healthier, safer world.

“Environmental protection is part of my moral fiber. It’s what I live for. And I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made across the United States,” McCarthy said.

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Sophie Dorf-Kamienny is a junior at Tufts University studying sociology and community health. She is a Ms. contributing writer, and was formerly an editorial fellow, research fellow and assistant editor of social media. You can find her on Twitter at @sophie_dk_.