Fontbonne Alumna To Be Named President-Elect Biden's Climate Czar

Fontbonne Alumna To Be Named President-Elect Biden's Climate Czar

Fontbonne congratulates alumna Gina McCarthy ‘72 on being selected to head President-elect Joe Biden’s new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy.  She will serve as the first-ever “national climate adviser." McCarthy will be responsible for implementing the Administration’s plan to make climate policy a key focus throughout the federal government.

McCarthy, a Canton native, has dedicated her career in public service to environmental protection and public health for nearly four decades. Her leadership and perseverance has led to federal, state, and local actions on critical environmental issues, and her significant accomplishments include action to advance environmental, clean energy, public transportation and public health goals consistent with a growing economy in New England and across the United States.

McCarthy currently serves as president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.  Under her leadership, the NRDC has sued the Trump administration more than 100 times, successfully overturning its attempts to delay energy efficiency rules and protections for threatened species.  She is also a Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Director of Harvard Chan’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, leading the development of the School’s strategy in climate science, health, and sustainability. 

From 2013 to 2017, McCarthy served as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Obama. As Administrator, McCarthy was the nation’s leading advocate for common-sense strategies to protect public health and the environment. Willing to take bold action, McCarthy achieved notable success by finalizing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) which set the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for fossil-fuel fired power plants. The CPP demonstrated the country’s strong commitment to climate action, sparking broad international support for adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement. Under her leadership, EPA also finalized the Clean Water Rule to protect rivers and streams that 117 million Americans rely on for their source of drinking water. 

President-elect Biden is expected to make McCarthy’s formal announcement in the coming days.  According to several media outlets, she will oversee a broad interagency effort to leverage the federal government’s powers to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  McCarthy will serve as the domestic counterpart to former Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.  Kerry has been named special presidential envoy to manage the U.S. role in global climate action.

“As a woman of courage, Gina embodies what it means to be a Fontbonne woman.  She lives her life with passion and has used her education and influence for the betterment of humanity and our world.  She is one of many Fontbonne Alumna who make a difference through their example of living Fontbonne's mission to care for the dear neighbor and who inspire the future generation of female leaders.  We are so proud of Gina and all she has accomplished,” said Ms. Maura Spignesi, Head of School.