Gina McCarthy is 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 at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE). She has been a leading advocate for smart, successful strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years.

McCarthy became the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council in January 2020.  She served as the 13th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama Administration. Her leadership led to significant federal, state, and local actions on critical issues related to the environment, economy, energy, and transportation. McCarthy ushered in a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, which expressly linked it to global public health. She led initiatives that cut air pollution, protected water resources, strengthened chemical safety, and reduced greenhouse gases to protect more communities from negative health impacts. McCarthy signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Agreement.

At the state level, McCarthy served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Deputy Secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and Undersecretary of Policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. In Connecticut, she was instrumental in developing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate effort to reduce emissions contributing to global warming, which has spurred economic growth, improved public health, decreased energy demand and helped mitigate electricity price increases across the region. In Massachusetts, McCarthy advised five governors on environmental affairs, worked at the state and local levels on critical environmental issues, and coordinated policies on economic growth, energy, transportation, and the environment.

McCarthy serves as a Member of the Board of the Energy Foundation and CERES. She holds a Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from University of Massachusetts at Boston.

Gina McCarthy

Fighting the fight against climate change

Gina McCarthy talks about her life’s work with environmental activism and her determination to fight climate change in spite of the setbacks.

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Sunrise over earth

The 5 environmental stories that could define 2020

Elections, extreme heat, the Amazon, protests, and air pollution: These are the environmental stories that could define 2020. Gina McCarthy weighs in.

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Gina McCarthy being interviewed on MSNBC's Velshi & Ruhle.

What changes need to happen now for climate change

Gina McCarthy discusses the urgency of the climate crisis and why new climate reports need to spark action.

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Person laying in hospital bed wearing hospital gown.

Climate change is already making us sick

Gina McCarthy and Renee Salas discuss the urgent need for climate action in a time where health impacts of climate change are in full force.

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Photo of city high-rise buildings with a lot of smog in the air.

How the climate crisis is killing us, in 9 alarming charts

Climate change is a personal issue that hits close to home.

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Baby sleeping on white blanket.

Climate change will affect “every single stage” of a child’s life, health researchers warn

We need to focus on climate solutions to protect public health.

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Open laptop, journal, phone, and coffee cup on desk.

Gina McCarthy’s advice to climate journalists: “Talk about solutions and build hope”

In her op-ed, our Director Gina McCarthy focuses on the importance of health, people, and solutions in climate journalism.

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Environmental insights interview with Gina McCarthy

Our Director Gina McCarthy discusses her 30+ years protecting public health and the environment in this inaugural podcast from the Belfer Center at Harvard Kennedy School.

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Wind turbines

A conversation with President and CEO of Green Mountain Power, Mary Powell

Our Director Gina McCarthy and Mary Powell explores how the private sector can leverage its resources to promote health and well-being for society.

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Agency's been all over the map on 'health co-benefits'

EPA's "Inconsistent approach to co-benefits is not based on science; it's based on the political aim of weakening regulation,” says our Senior Advisor, Kathy Fallon Lambert.

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