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Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as the United States of America's 46th president on Jan. 20, 2021. This series, started before his inauguration, covers the efforts of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to build their administration.

Biden To Name Gina McCarthy, Former EPA Chief, As Domestic Climate Coordinator

Gina McCarthy, seen here in a file photo from January, was head of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration.
Gina McCarthy, seen here in a file photo from January, was head of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration.

President-elect Joe Biden plans to name Gina McCarthy as his White House climate coordinator,a source familiar with the decision said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect private conversations.

McCarthy led the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Barack Obama and is currently chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

McCarthy has an ambitious assignment: coordinating efforts across the entire federal government aimed at drastically — and quickly — lowering the United States' greenhouse gas emissions. During his campaign, Biden promised to put the U.S. economy on track to being carbon neutral by 2050.

McCarthy has years of experience in environmental policy at both the state and federal level. As EPA administrator, she oversaw Obama's Clean Power Plan, the first national standards for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. It was blocked from going into effect by the U.S. Supreme Court, before ultimately being withdrawn by the Trump administration. Earlier in her career, McCarthy was commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and helped develop a multi-state program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

McCarthy will serve as a domestic counterpoint to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who Biden tapped in his first wave of appointments as the administration's international point person on climate policy. The two worked together in the Obama administration, and she worked in Massachusetts state government when he represented the state as a U.S. senator. Neither of the positions require Senate confirmation.

McCarthy will be at the center of Biden's expected push to use executive action and rule-making to rein in carbon emissions and reverse President Trump's rollbacks of environmental regulations. Biden has framed climate change as one of the four most important issues his administration will confront when he takes office on Jan. 20.

This story will be updated.

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