Energy & Environment

White House climate adviser: Americans will ‘keep demanding’ upgraded infrastructure after Biden

National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy addresses reporters about new electric vehicle charging initiatives
Greg Nash

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy on Wednesday said that the Biden administration is aiming to develop energy and environment policies that will be too popular for a future administration to attempt to roll them back.

In a Washington Post Live interview, The Washington Post’s Frances Stead Sellers noted the number of  Trump-era environmental rules and regulations the Biden administration has taken steps to reverse and asked whether the administration was concerned about a future Republican administration doing the same.

“Instead of just using policies or regulations, which we’re certainly going to continue to use as the tools of the trade … the president’s idea is that if we get out of this pandemic in a way that really invests in people by giving them good-paying union jobs, by actually working with the private sector to build new roads and bridges, transit systems that actually function for people … if we do this right, we are going to show the American people they are far better off and our communities are far better off, and you’re not going to reverse that investment trend,” McCarthy replied.

If the U.S. successfully expands and upgrades infrastructure as outlined in the administration’s $4 trillion infrastructure plan, McCarthy said, “people are not going to say ‘let’s just shut off everything we just built.’ … These are not reversible ideas.”

“They’re going to keep demanding it,” she added.

McCarthy also expressed optimism at the direction of the environmental debate, noting that the disagreement between Democratic and Republican policymakers is now predominantly over what action to take rather than the existence of climate change.

“We have debates now between Democrats and Republicans about how to address climate change, but I’m not seeing a lot of naysayers” about the concept, she added.

McCarthy said President Biden was uniquely suited to pitching climate and environmental action to Americans in clear terms.

“Climate change can be a kitchen table issue if we just talk about what jobs are we going to create … how are we going to make sure we’re not leaving workers behind, how do we keep our communities safe with resilience and adaptation efforts,” she said. “That’s the discussion we are having within this administration.”

Tags biden administration Climate adviser Climate change Gina McCarthy Infrastructure Joe Biden White House
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