WASHINGTON (January 11, 2023) — The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Board of Directors today presented former White House National Climate Advisor Regina “Gina” McCarthy with the Thomas A. Edison Legacy Award in recognition of her outstanding environmental leadership and her work to advance climate policy throughout her distinguished career.
McCarthy served as the first White House National Climate Advisor, leading the Climate Policy Office created by President Joe Biden from 2021-2022. During her tenure, the Biden Administration passed transformational investments in infrastructure and the most consequential climate and clean energy legislation in U.S. history. McCarthy also served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama Administration from 2013-2017.
“We applaud Gina’s leadership and salute her for our successful working partnership to accelerate progress on clean energy and climate issues,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Her vision and tireless engagement made it possible to pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the robust clean energy tax package included in the Inflation Reduction Act. This historic legislation will make the clean energy transformation more affordable for the customers and communities we proudly serve. Getting this new set of policies and tools right was not easy, and Gina played a critical role in helping to shape them.”
As EPA Administrator, McCarthy was instrumental in enacting President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan to advance climate and environmental justice both domestically and internationally, and her efforts led to the United States’ adoption of the Paris Agreement. She also engaged in numerous constructive discussions with EEI and member company CEOs as EPA worked to develop effective Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and the Clean Power Plan.
“When you compile a list of the most important leaders in the race to advance clean energy and to reduce climate emissions, Gina is at the top of that list,” said Kuhn. “She has been a tough negotiator and a tremendous partner for EEI and our member companies as we work to make America’s resilient clean energy future a reality.”
Prior to her appointment as White House National Climate Advisor, McCarthy served as president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She also was a professor of the practice of public health in the department of environmental health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and served as the director of the school’s newly created Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment. McCarthy also was a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she engaged students, faculty, professional leaders, and climate health thought-leaders on actions to promote sustainability and justice.
In 2009, President Obama appointed McCarthy to serve as assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation—a position she held until her appointment as EPA Administrator. Before her work in the federal government, McCarthy served as the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, where she was the chair of the Governor’s Climate Advisory Council and developed and implemented the first regional emissions trading policy for power plants. She also held senior positions in the administration of five Massachusetts governors, including as the environmental advisor to former Governor Mitt Romney.
McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She also received a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering, Planning, and Policy from Tufts University.
McCarthy stepped down as White House National Climate Advisor in September 2022.