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New EPA Head Says Combating Climate Change Is Big Economic Opportunity

Coal-fired power plant

Gina McCarthy, Barack Obama’s new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is wasting no time sharing thoughts on what the United States needs to do to combat climate change.

McCarthy delivered her first speech as department head at Harvard Law School, where she noted that curbing emissions will grow jobs, encourage business innovation, and strengthen the U.S. economy.

“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs? Please. At least for today?” she said in a jab to the opposing team, who seem convinced that low emissions and a thriving economy are mutually exclusive. “Let’s talk about this as an opportunity of a lifetime, because there are too many lifetimes at stake.” She added that the EPA is “not just about rules and regulations,” but also about “getting environmental improvement,” which she says could be made everywhere.

Obama is no stranger to the idea that the environment and economy can work in agreement with one another. Now that he’s in his second term, he has finally started showing that he is ready to act decisively to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Climate change will not be resolved overnight,” McCarthy added. “But it will be engaged over the next three years – that I can promise you.”

She can certainly talk the talk, but time will tell if she can walk the walk. Her words leave me optimistic for what will happen over the next several years. It’s no secret that we need someone in there who takes the job seriously and isn’t going to lie down in the face of opposition. I like her.

What do you think will happen over the next three years?

Image CC licensed by Alan Stark: Coal-fired power plant, Arizona

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