America’s energy needs and challenges have never been more vital. All forms of renewable energy will play a critical role in addressing those needs. Generating energy that produces little or no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels is part of the effort to diversify the energy supply and impacts all communities, including the underserved and underfunded.

Washington Post senior writer Frances Stead Sellers talked with White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy on Wednesday, May 19 at 11:30am ET about the economic effect, as well as societal impact, of a greater emphasis on renewable energy.

Highlights

White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy says President Biden is interested in building a grid system that's much more resilient. “The president’s interest is in investing in our grid system so that we actually fill these gaps and allow redundancies to happen so that energy can flow where it’s needed unabated. (Washington Post Live)
White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy says automakers are saying electric vehicles are the future. “There is no question that we have to move to electric vehicles. The great thing is that that’s not just coming from me, it’s coming from the automakers themselves.” (Washington Post Live)
White House national climate advisor Gina McCarthy says there could be technologies in the future that help the U.S. reach its goal of getting to net zero by 2050. “There is no way that I can tell you that there is an absolutely defined strategy to get to net zero by 2050. I know that’s the goal and as science moves forward hopefully immediate deployment of the technologies available to us today will buy us time but also significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions so that we can make that net zero a possibility in 2050.” (Washington Post Live)

Gina McCarthy

Provided by the White House.

Gina McCarthy is the first National Climate Advisor—the president's chief advisor on domestic climate policy—and leads the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy focused on mobilizing a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate crisis, creating good-paying, union jobs, and securing environmental justice. Previously, she served as 13th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and then as President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One of the nation’s most trusted and accomplished voices on climate issues, she has been at the forefront of environmental and public health progress in a variety of leading roles for over three decades.

In her time leading the EPA, McCarthy oversaw successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, mitigate air pollution, conserve critical water sources, and safeguard vulnerable communities from chemical hazards. She spearheaded the Obama-Biden Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which set America’s first-ever national standards for lowering carbon emissions from power plants, and helped pave the way for the Paris Climate Agreement. Prior to her role with the NRDC, McCarthy was a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and served as chair of the board of directors of the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment.

Throughout her career, McCarthy has advised five administrations of both Democratic and Republican Massachusetts governors on environmental matters, and she served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection prior to being appointed by President Obama to head up the EPA’s Air Office. As EPA administrator, she pursued innovative global collaborations with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, and on global efforts to address pollution. Born and raised in Boston, McCarthy graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston and earned a master of science at Tufts University.