By Laura Barron-Lopez - 08/08/14 05:03 PM EDT
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyDozens of senators push EPA for higher ethanol mandate The Hill's 12:30 Report Overnight Energy: Obama signs chemical safety reform into law MORE said students should be taught the science behind climate change in schools.
"I think part of the challenge of explaining climate change is that it requires a level of science and a level of forward thinking and you’ve got to teach that to kids," McCarthy said in an interview with the magazine Irish American published Friday.
McCarthy added that the growing use of renewables in communities, even on school buildings, would help kids see the transition to cleaner energy first hand.
"People didn’t have a sense of how dramatic climate change really is, and what it means for all of us. So that’s been a challenge,” she said. “But what’s great about renewables is that when you put a solar panel on the roof of a school, you change the entire dynamic of education for the students. It’s hands-on.”
Despite severe pushback from Republicans in Congress, and industry, on the administration's carbon pollution rules for power plants, McCarthy said people across the U.S. are getting "more active and engaged" on climate control.
The EPA is working overtime to fend off attacks from opponents of the president's climate agenda, and has stressed the flexibility the carbon rules give states.
"We are under very close scrutiny but we'll live up to that scrutiny and we'll still make progress," McCarthy said.