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Gina McCarthy, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will be the first national climate adviser. Environmentalists consider the last four years a disaster. President Donald Trump rolled back environmental protections and withdrew the United States from international agreements on climate change.
But Joshua Busby, associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a fellow at the Center for Climate & Security, said things are about to change. “People are hugely optimistic in a way that they haven’t been for some time,” he said.
President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to make the environment a priority in an agenda that would reverse many Trump administration policies. Busby said the announcement of Gina McCarthy, former Environmental Protection Agency chief, as the first national climate adviser and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation help fuel that optimism.
Both have pushed for stricter policies on car emission standards and stronger regulation of the oil and gas industry. Biden has pledged to rejoin the Paris climate agreement as soon as he takes office. But Busby said the first step to meeting global climate goals is for the U.S. to tackle what it’s doing at home.