New EPA chief to business: Embrace ‘opportunity’ of climate change

Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy is using her first big speech in the role to argue that battling climate change presents an opportunity for job creation.

“For too long we were presented a false choice: between the health of our children and the health of our economy. The truth is cutting carbon pollution will spark business innovation, resulting in cleaner forms of American-made energy,” McCarthy will say at Harvard Law School late Tuesday morning, according to the EPA.

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McCarthy, confirmed mid-July to head the EPA, will face pushback from Republicans, some conservative Democrats and some industry sectors as the EPA pushes climate policies including first-time carbon emissions standards for power plants.

But she’s using the speech to try and rebut arguments that the EPA policies will harm the economy.

"As more businesses embrace the opportunity of climate change, I see a chance to 'bend the curve' — of both direct impact on carbon pollution and leveraging public and private sector investment in infrastructure and clean energy — investments that will, in turn, fuel the complementary goals of turning America into a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing," she plans to say.

McCarthy argues that auto fuel mileage and tailpipe emissions standards the Obama administration has already finalized provide a template.

"On the brink of collapse four years ago, The Center for Automotive Research now predicts the auto industry will add 35,000 jobs in 2013."

And the Wall Street Journal said the industry is emerging as an “export powerhouse,” with more than one million cars and light trucks exported from U.S. auto plants, she will say.

A bit more from McCarthy:

This is a game plan for other sectors to follow on how we can reduce emissions, strengthen energy security, and develop new economic benefits for consumers and businesses. Right now, state and local communities - as well as industry, universities, and other non-profits - have been piloting projects, advancing policies, and developing best practices that follow the same basic blueprint: combining environmental and economic interests for combined maximum benefit. These on-the-ground efforts are the future. It’s a chance to harness the American entrepreneur spirit, developing new technologies and creating new jobs, while at the same time reducing carbon pollution to help our children and their children.