WASHINGTON — Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, has told those close to her that she has been frustrated by the slow pace of climate progress and intends to resign in the coming months, according to multiple people she has spoken with.
Ms. McCarthy, 67, who has served since the start of the Biden administration, was expected to remain in her post for about a year, friends and colleagues said Thursday.
President Biden asked him to stay, according to a person familiar with McCarthy’s plans. Others who have spoken with her in recent days said that Ms. McCarthy had denied that she was leaving her imminently and had told her associates that she had no definite date in mind. Her deputy Ali Zaidi is expected to succeed her.
Ms McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment on her plans, which were first reported by Reuters. Vedant Patel, a White House spokesman, called the reports “false.”
The Environmental Agenda of the Biden Administration
President Biden is pushing for tougher regulations but faces a narrow path to achieving his goals in the fight against global warming.
“We have no personnel announcements to make,” Patel said in a statement. “Gina and her entire team remain focused on delivering on President Biden’s clean energy agenda.”
Mr. Biden has appointed Ms. McCarthy, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama, to lead his ambitious climate agenda, which calls for cutting the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by about in half by the end of this decade.
But his plans have stalled in Congress due to unified opposition from Republicans as well as Sen. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat from West Virginia, who represents a crucial swing vote in the evenly split Senate.
On the other hand, Biden’s plans to use executive authority to enact tough new rules on greenhouse pollution from power plants and automobiles could be severely limited by an upcoming conservative-leaning Supreme Court decision.
Additionally, the war in Ukraine has pushed up gasoline prices, prompting Biden to take steps that are anathema to climate activists. He released a record amount of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, pleaded with oil and gas companies to do more drilling and temporarily relaxed environmental rules to allow the sale of ethanol-blended gasoline during the summer months, when it is normally prohibited. because it can cause smog.
Those moves came as a landmark United Nations report was released in which leading scientists from around the world warned that time is running out for nations to move away from fossil fuels or face a future of climate catastrophe. .
One person described Ms McCarthy as “in embattled mode” and said she had been concerned about political and legal challenges facing the administration’s climate plans. Others said that she had lamented the difficulties of traveling and being away from her husband.
Publicly, however, Ms McCarthy has insisted she remains optimistic about the chances of climate legislation passing this year. At a recent event in Washington, she said she was “not naive” about the challenges, but added, “I think we’ll have a bill that will pass this fall.”
When she served in the Obama administration, Ms. McCarthy was one of the primary architects of the president’s far-reaching and historic climate change policies.
After the election of Donald J. Trump, Ms. McCarthy became director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the Trump administration more than 100 times as Mr. Trump overturned much of the legacy Obama’s environmental
Under Biden, McCarthy was tasked with leading a “whole of government” approach in which nearly every federal agency enacted new regulations designed to address climate change. He also hoped to steer Congress toward passing new climate laws that a future president could not reverse, ensuring a steady drop in the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.