EPA chief apologizes for her generation’s role in climate change

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyThe Clean Water Rule: One year later How Congress got to yes on toxic chemical reform Overnight Energy: Labor rift opens over green mega-donor MORE apologized on behalf of her generation Thursday for not acting to stop climate change.

“I want to apologize for my generation. We didn’t quite get it quick enough,” McCarthy said at an event in Miami Beach, Fla., according to the Fusion television network.

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“And so when we started looking at climate data decades ago, we knew that climate change was a problem, and all we could do was project the impacts,” she said.

McCarthy, who was born in the 1950s, used Miami Beach as a backdrop to demonstrate that people do not have to use projections to see climate change nowadays, because it is happening before their eyes.

Thursday is “king tide” day for Miami Beach, when the tide in Biscayne Bay reaches its highest level of the year.

The tide frequently floods Miami Beach’s streets, though temporary pumps were moving the water back out to the bay Thursday, Fusion reported. Federal officials say climate change has caused an increase in flooding, and it will only get worse.

“Climate change isn’t about faraway places in faraway dangers, it’s about impact today to the the safety of our communities, to the viability of our commercial enterprises, and most importantly it is about the public health of the families across the United States of America,” McCarthy said.

Local leaders joined McCarthy for the event Thursday, along with Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

They emphasized that the impacts of climate change, and measures to mitigate them, should not be a bipartisan debate.

“If there are any doubters, you should listen to the NASA scientists that testify that measurements — that’s not forecasts, that’s not projections, it’s measurements — over the last 50 years [show] five to eight inches of sea level rise in South Florida,” Nelson said, according to Fusion. “75 percent of our population in this state is on the coast.”