Gina McCarthy's Headshot

Gina McCarthy

Former Head of the Environmental Protection Agency - Panelist Blurb

One of the nation’s most respected voices on the environment and public health, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is now a Harvard professor leading strategies and actions at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and in the corporate and non-profit sectors. At Harvard T.H. Chan, she is Professor of the Practice of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health and the Director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE). In this capacity, McCarthy leads the development of the school’s strategy to turn climate and health science into actions that promote a more sustainable and just world. At the Kennedy School, she engages climate science leaders across the university and beyond. McCarthy also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Energy Foundation and Ceres. McCarthy is a former operating advisor at Pegasus Capital.

During 35 years of public service in both Republican and Democratic administrations, McCarthy dedicated herself to environmental protection and public health. Her leadership and perseverance led to federal, state, and local actions on critical environmental issues. McCarthy’s 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.

From 2013 – 2017, McCarthy served as Administrator of the U.S. 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 United States 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.

Prior to her role as EPA Administrator, McCarthy held the position of Assistant Administrator in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, where she began an initiative called No Child Left Inside” to introduce families to the natural world by visiting state parks, and she helped design and implement the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for power plants.

McCarthy earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering, Planning, and Policy from Tuft’s University.