WASHINGTON – President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to elect Gina McCarthy, the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama and the architect of some of his most far-reaching regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions, according to three people close to the Biden transition team , as the White House Senior Advisor on Climate Change.
As an advisor to the White House, Ms. McCarthy will coordinate domestic climate policy across the United States government and will play a pivotal role in helping Mr Biden deliver on his campaign promise to put the United States on the right track to reducing carbon before 2050 -to become neutral.
Mr. Biden also intends to appoint Ali Zaidi, New York State’s Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment, who helped create Mr. Biden’s climate plan, as Ms. McCarthy’s deputy.
Ms. McCarthy, who has served as president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, since January, is one of the senior Obama administration officials who hold top positions in the Biden administration. Proponents of stronger action to fight climate change said their nomination would send a signal that the government is ready to bypass Congress and take action that uses executive power to start reducing greenhouse gases.
Her international counterpart is former Secretary of State John Kerry, whom Mr Biden tapped to motivate other nations to take more ambitious action as the United States prepares to resume its own efforts after four years of disregarding climate change under President Trump .
“A new era of climate responsibility is just around the corner,” former Vice President Al Gore said in a statement. “The US is back in action.”
He called Ms. McCarthy “uniquely suited to the job,” and said that her appointment, along with Mr. Kerry’s, “confirms Joe Biden is serious about America leading by example and deeply reducing pollution and climate emissions. “
As the EPA administrator, Ms. McCarthy developed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first national limits for carbon emissions from power plants. It has also promoted rules to reduce mercury emissions from power plants, increase fuel efficiency in motor vehicles, and limit methane leaks from oil and gas wells.
All of these moves were rejected by the coal, gas and oil industries and ultimately overturned or weakened by the Trump administration.
Fossil fuel-dependent lawmakers who have clashed with Ms. McCarthy in the past have expressed concern about the prospect of stricter regulations.
The transition of the president
Apr. 15, 2020, 6:45 am ET
“America needs leaders who promote both a growing economy and a healthy environment,” said Senator John Barrasso, the Wyoming Republican who will top the committee on energy and natural resources for next year. “The Obama administration’s penal code has harmed Wyoming workers and stifled the American economy.”
The role of a senior advisor on climate change is not entirely new. The Obama administration appointed Carol Browner, a former EPA chief, to be its director of climate policy and, in his second term, brought in John Podesta, founder of the Liberal Center for American Progress, as its advisor on climate change.
But Ms. McCarthy’s new position – which is expected to be in the White House, with its own staff and labor across agencies – suggests that the role may have far more influence than before.
Senator Edward J. Markey called it “a very strong signal to any federal agency that the president is serious, and he wants to see real action each of the agencies is taking to telescope out the timeframe it takes to take meaningful action take place to deal with the climate crisis. “