McCarthy: Biden has a plan on climate change, will deliver metrics in April
Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate adviser, said Tuesday that she joined the Biden administration because President Biden already had a plan on climate change before he took office.
Speaking at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Ideas: Re$et conference, McCarthy said she had “marching orders” before she took the job.
Biden, she said, sees climate change policy as a way to help create jobs that labor unions want and also pursue goals of environmental justice that will help minorities.
Previous administrations believed that the Environmental Protection Agency, which she headed in the Obama administration, should be the sole agency to make climate policy, but Biden does not, McCarthy said.
The Biden policy, she said, is “about moving away from the idea that my old agency, EPA, is the sole purveyor of the issue of climate change and how to fix it. It’s all about a whole-of-government approach so that everybody is looking at their programs and policies.”
But McCarthy was clear that the administration believes that the government needs to stop “funneling money to the fossil fuel industry.”
Instead, she said, “One of the most important things is our ability to procure products and services in a way that’s going to jumpstart a clean energy economy and send the kind of market-based signals where the private sector will say, ‘Aha, so we have lots of electric vehicles being purchased by the United States of America – thousands of them that they might buy every year.’”
The United States “lost so much” during the Trump years, she said. “We are also just not manufacturing at the levels we need. We are ceding the economy of the future to China and other countries — which is why President Biden issued a Buy America policy as well.”
The problems in Texas last week during the storms were not a sign that renewable energy failed but that Texas “had not invested in their own systems of refineries, and they did not have a grid that connected Texas with other states in a way that other states are aligned together.”
Following Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, McCarthy said, the administration is developing a “Nationally Determined Contribution” in greenhouse gas reductions by 2030, which will be announced by Earth Day, April 22.
By the time the United Nations holds the next climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November, the United States “will be able to stand proud in that forum.”
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