Gina A. McCarthy is an air quality expert in the Environmental Protection Agency who is President Barack Obama's choice to lead the government agency and serve in his cabinet during a second term in the White House.
McCarthy serves as the assistant administrator of the EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would replace Lisa Jackson, who stepped down in February 2013. The EPA administrator was expected to carry out one of Obama's primary second-term objectives, addressing the causes of global warming.
Speaking at a White House ceremony in March 2013, Obama praised McCarthy's work as assistant EPA administrator, saying she has "focused on practical, cost-effective ways to keep our air clean and our economy growing. She's earned a reputation as a straight shooter. She welcomes different points of views."
The president made clear in his 2013 State of the Union speech he believes human behavior is responsible for the problem, and has promised to meet with scientists, engineers and elected officials to begin a national discussion about how to address global warming.
The EPA administrator is also involved in determining the fate of the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline, a multibillion-dollar project to carry oil from Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.
Position on Climate Change
McCarthy is on record as saying the risks to public health from global warming are "substantial and far-reaching."
At a hearing on greenhouse gases before a House subcommittee on energy and power in June 2012, McCarthy said:
"Carbon pollution is leading to more frequent and intense heat waves that increase mortality, especially among the poor and elderly. Scientists also expect increasing carbon pollution and resulting climate changes to lead compared to a future without climate change to increased ozone pollution over broad areas of the country, including large population areas with unhealthy ozone levels."
"Greenhouse gas pollution, through its contribution to global climate change, presents a significant threat to Americans’ health and to the environment upon which our economy and security depends."
Like Obama McCarthy has called on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gas pollution through cleaner energy sources tougher clean-air regulations, something that does not sit well with some Republicans.
Career in Government
McCarthy has worked at all levels of the public sector in a career than spanned more than 25 years at the time of her expected nomination.
Before beginning work at the EPA in 2009, she served as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, a position she took in 2004.
At the state and local levels she helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment. From 2003 to 2004 McCarthy worked as the deputy secretary of operations for the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development, and from 1999 to 2003 she served as the assistant secretary of pollution prevention, environmental business and technology for the state of Massachusetts.
One of the most interesting aspects of McCarthy's career is her work under five Massachuettes governors, including Mitt Romney.
McCarthy holds a bachelor of arts degree in social anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, and a joint master of science degree in environmental health engineering and planning and policy from Tufts University.