IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Biden climate czar Gina McCarthy expected to step down in May

McCarthy would be leaving as the Biden administration confronts the reality that prospects for major federal action on climate change have almost entirely evaporated.
Image: Gina McCarthy
White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy at a news conference in Washington, D.C., on April 22, 2021.Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy is expected to step down next month, a person familiar with her decision confirmed.

McCarthy had initially expected to wrap up her service by the end of February, but she agreed to stay a bit longer, the person said. She is expected to return to her native Boston.

In a tweet late Thursday, McCarthy pushed back against the reports.

"Reports that I have resigned from my position as President Biden’s National Climate Advisor are simply inaccurate. We’ve made great progress these past 14 months, but we have much more work to do — and I remain excited about the opportunities ahead," she said.

McCarthy would be leaving as the Biden administration confronts the reality that its prospects for major federal action on climate change — which just months ago seemed very promising — have almost entirely evaporated.

The White House earlier Thursday did not confirm that McCarthy plans to leave.

“We have no personnel announcements to make,” White House spokesman Vedant Patel said. “Gina and her entire team continue to be laser-focused on delivering on President Biden’s clean energy agenda.”

Reuters first reported that McCarthy would be stepping down.

McCarthy, who was the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration, had been expected to oversee the implementation of a historic half-trillion-dollar-plus spending package on climate change included in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better framework, which collapsed after negotiations with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., faltered.

The White House and Senate Democrats have engaged in informal talks about reviving the climate provisions as part of a more limited package or as a standalone measure. But time is quickly running out before the midterm elections make it politically impossible to get major legislation through Congress.

McCarthy's departure would closely follow the departures of other top-tier administration officials.

In February, the top science adviser to the White House, Eric Lander, resigned under pressure, saying in a resignation letter that he had been “demeaning” to his subordinates.

White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced last month that he would step down this month. Vice President Kamala Harris' national security adviser, Nancy McEldowney, also announced last month that she was stepping down.

It’s unclear who might replace McCarthy. A top contender is Ali Zaidi, McCarthy’s deputy, who also held a climate and energy position in the Obama White House.