Energy & Environment

Ex-Obama EPA chief to lead new center for climate change at Harvard


Former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy is leading a newly launched center at Harvard University that will focus on climate change and policy.

McCarthy, who served under former President Obama from 2013 to 2017, will lead the university’s Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE), first introduced Wednesday.

In her role there, the former EPA head will help the center, which is part of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, ensure that government and business officials have access to the best science to help them understand current health and environmental challenges.

“Climate change isn’t about saving the planet and it’s not about politics, it’s about our kids and making sure they have the opportunity for a healthy, sustainable world,” said McCarthy in a statement. “C-CHANGE will ensure that cutting-edge science produced by Harvard Chan School is actionable—that the public understands it, and that it gets into the hands of decision-makers so that science drives decisions.”


The center also announced Wednesday that one of its first initiatives will be a collaboration with Google to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in building products and materials, adding that many of the chemicals are scientifically shown to be harmful but current policy still allows them. Under the collaboration, they aim to develop a set of public tools and resources using the latest scientific research to help inform an drive decision-making by large institutions with the goal of ultimately transforming the marketplace.

McCarthy has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration’s handling of environmental regulations. Current EPA leadership has actively worked to rollback regulations she championed under Obama.

McCarthy, along with Janet McCabe, former acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, wrote a scathing critique of the EPA’s current chief, Scott Pruitt, in a New York Times op-ed in March, warning that his crackdown on certain scientific studies could have long-term damaging effects on the agency.

“Don’t be fooled by this talk of transparency. He and some conservative members of Congress are setting up a nonexistent problem in order to prevent the EPA from using the best available science,” the two wrote.

“It is his latest effort to cripple the agency,” they added.

Tags chemicals Climate change EPA Gina McCarthy Google Harvard Public health Scott Pruitt

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