NRDC’s Gina McCarthy Urges Congress to Protect Americans’ Health from Climate Harm

WASHINGTON – Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, will tell Congress today that climate change is the world’s biggest public health challenge but also the greatest public health opportunity, and that solutions exist to propel us toward clean energy and healthier communities.

McCarthy is scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis at 9 a.m. in a hearing titled: “Creating a Climate Resilient America: Overcoming the Health Risks of the Climate Crisis.” This is first time McCarthy, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is testifying on Capitol Hill in her new role at NRDC. 

“I have three children. And I’m lucky enough to have two grandkids to love and cherish,” McCarthy says in her prepared remarks. “They’ll be 32 and 31 years old in 2050 — the year science tells us we must have a zero-carbon economy, if we want to avoid the most destructive climate impacts. That’s why I’m up here today. It’s my responsibility to defend a healthier and brighter futures for all of our kids. Our climate fight is that personal.”

In her testimony, McCarthy will note that the public health costs from climate change already total billions of dollars in the United States. Those costs fall disproportionately upon children, the elderly, the poor and the powerless. She’ll call for increasing support for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Climate Health program, for building climate resilience in U.S. healthcare facilities, and for reducing carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

When she was at EPA, she plans to say, success was measured in lives saved, healthier kids and fewer asthma attacks. That is where Congress today should focus—defending through every possible means the health of our children and their futures.

“Pollution, including carbon pollution that fuels climate change, is not — and should not be — a partisan issue,” McCarthy says in her testimony.

Gina McCarthy’s written testimony is here:


Committee hearing details: House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) will conduct the hearing, “Creating a Climate Resilient America: Overcoming the Health Risks of the Climate Crisis.”

It starts at 9 a.m. in Room 1300 of the Longworth House Office Building. More info and a link to where the hearing will be livestreamed here:


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​







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