In her first speech as head of the EPA, Gina McCarthy has urged businesses to view climate change as an opportunity. She also said the agency’s experience with auto efficiency standards shows how it might work fruitfully with industry to craft regulations.
McCarthy’s “opportunity” tactic stands in stark contrast to the Republican party line, which paints proposed environmental regulations as job-killers.
“Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs, please?” McCarthy said in the speech at Harvard Law School. She said the benefits from climate change regulations far outweigh their costs, and that the challenge of cutting greenhouse gases is a “way to spark business innovation.”
The talk marked an opening salvo in a PR offensive, as McCarthy, energy secretary Ernest Moniz and interior secretary Sally Jewell all make public appearances to help push President Obama’s climate plan, including GHG regulations on existing power plants.
Tapping into her reputation as a savvy negotiator with industry, McCarthy said the EPA will try to follow the model it created with automotive efficiency standards. That regulatory push saw major automakers get on board with standards before they were finalized, so industry and government presented a unified public front in favor of the regulations.
So far power companies haven’t shown themselves to be such easy-going bedfellows, but they have shown themselves more favorably disposed to McCarthy than her predecessor, Lisa Jackson.
McCarthy also said the EPA will look to follow the lead set by states and local governments in cutting GHG emissions.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.
Picture credit: Elizabeth McClay via flickr