Gina McCarthy

White House National Climate Advisor; Former EPA Administrator

Gina McCarthy serves as White House Natinal Climate Advisor, tasked with coordinating the Biden administration’s domestic climate agenda.

Previously, McCarthy was the president and chief executive officer of NRDC beginning in January 2020, where she led more than 700 attorneys, scientists, advocates, and policy experts. McCarthy has been a leading advocate for smart, successful strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. A Boston native, she previously advised five Massachusetts governors, including Mitt Romney.

In her prior role at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, McCarthy was a professor of the practice of public health in the Department of Environmental Health and chair of the board of advisors at the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE). She also served as a member of the boards of the Energy Foundation and Ceres.

McCarthy served under President Barack Obama as the 13th Administrator of the EPA from 2013–2017. Her tenure as EPA Administrator heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. She led EPA initiatives that 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.

McCarthy worked with the United Nations and the World Health Organization on a variety of efforts and represented the U.S. on global initiatives to reduce high-risk sources of pollution.

Live Event Appearances

Podcast Guest Appearances

Climate Ambition with Gina McCarthy, Annie Leonard and Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

Sep 22 2020 - 4:00pm

Will Joe Biden take bold action on climate if he becomes President? And what lessons can be drawn from the failure of Barack Obama and Joe Biden to get a national climate plan in place when they were in office?

“The context is different than the last time Joe Biden was anywhere near the White House,” says Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA. “The science has changed, [the] climate crisis is here now.”

John Kerry, Gina McCarthy and Biden’s Climate Team

Joe Biden did not start out as the “climate candidate” – that was a title first claimed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee, one of  more than two dozen Democratic candidates jockeying for position in the early days of the 2020 presidential campaign.  When Inslee spoke on the Climate One stage in May of 2020, climate was top of mind for him. 

“Everybody’s got a to do list right on your refrigerator,” Inslee said. “This cannot be just on the next president's to do list, because if it's not job one, it won't get done.”