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 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.
Former EPA Administrator emphasizes community in covering the climate crisis
Gina McCarthy shares her insights on journalism in the age of the climate crisis.
Gina McCarthy on EPA's fuel efficiency rollbacks
Our Director Gina McCarthy discussed the impacts of the EPA's fuel efficiency rollbacks and why businesses are taking climate action into their own hands.
Obama’s EPA Chief: ‘Sometimes you need to listen to the kids’
Our Director Gina McCarthy spoke about inequality, corruption, and the young Americans who've had enough with climate inaction.
Are we at a climate change turning point? Obama’s EPA Chief thinks so
Our Director Gina McCarthy on climate inequality, progress with climate action, and what's still left to be done.
Former EPA Head Gina McCarthy on the pressing need for climate action
Our Director Gina McCarthy on why she is optimistic about climate action after a successful Climate Week.
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on poor US leadership on climate
Our Director Gina McCarthy on the importance of movements like the Climate Strike during the climate crisis.
Faced with an uncertain future, young climate activists take to the streets
Our Director Gina McCarthy spoke at the Boston Climate Strike organized by youth activists ready for climate action.
Combating EPA rollbacks — Health care’s response to a retreat on climate
Our Director Gina McCarthy and Co-director Dr. Aaron Bernstein on the many things the healthcare sector can do to fight the climate crisis.
Gina McCarthy on the lack of U.S. leadership at the UN Climate Summit
Our Director Gina McCarthy discusses what international mobilization on climate change should look like.
Former EPA Head to young climate activists: drive your parents crazy
Our Director Gina McCarthy sat down with two young organizers of the Boston Climate Strike to discuss the drive behind the wave of youth demanding climate action.