WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to choose Gina McCarthy, a former director of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama and the architect of some of his most ambitious regulations to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, to serve as the White House‘s senior advisor on climate change, according to three people close to Biden’s transition team.
As an adviser to the White House, Ms. McCarthy will coordinate national climate policies within the United States government, playing a central role in helping Mr. Biden deliver on his election promise to put the United States on track to achieve carbon neutrality before 2050.
Mr Biden also intends to appoint Ali Zaidi, the New York state assistant secretary for energy and environment, who helped draft Mr Biden’s climate plan, as Ms deputy. McCarthy.
McCarthy, who since January has served as chairman of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, is joining the ranks of former senior Obama administration officials in senior positions in the Biden administration. Supporters of stronger action to tackle climate change said his appointment would send a signal that the administration was ready to bypass Congress and adopt measures by using the executive branch to start cutting back on greenhouse gases. Greenhouse.
His international counterpart is former Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Biden called on to urge other countries to take more ambitious action as the United States braces itself after four years of non-compliance. climate change under President Trump, to revive their own efforts.
“A new era of climate responsibility is upon us,” former Vice President Al Gore said in a statement. “The United States is back on the job.”
He called Ms McCarthy “a perfect fit for the job” and said her appointment, along with that of Mr Kerry, “affirms that Joe Biden is keen on America leading by example and leading to deep cuts in earnings. pollution and climate emissions. “
As an administrator of the EPA, Ms. McCarthy developed the Clean Power Plan, which set the very first national limits on carbon emissions from power plants. She also advanced the rules to reduce mercury emissions from power plants, increase the fuel efficiency of automobiles and limit methane leaks from oil and gas wells.
All of these measures were rejected by the coal, gas and oil industries and ultimately repealed or weakened by the Trump administration.
Lawmakers in fossil fuel-dependent states who have clashed with Ms McCarthy in the past have expressed concern about the prospect of tighter regulations.
The presidential transition
“America needs leaders who will promote both a growing economy and a healthy environment,” said Sen. John Barrasso, the Republican of Wyoming who will take the top spot on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. ‘next year. “The Obama administration’s punitive regulations have hurt Wyoming workers and stifled the US economy.”
The role of a senior advisor on climate change is not entirely new. The Obama administration called on Carol Browner, a former EPA chief, to be its director of climate policy, and in his second term called on John Podesta, founder of the Liberal Center for American Progress, to be its advisor on climate change.
But Ms McCarthy’s new post – which should be located in the White House and have its own staff, as well as the authority to work between agencies – suggests the role may have much more influence than before.
Senator Edward J. Markey called it “a very strong signal to every federal agency that the president is serious and that he wants to see concrete steps each agency is taking to telescope the time frame it will take to implement.” meaningful measures. place to face the climate crisis.