Gina McCarthy speaking this month as Biden’s top climate adviser


The White House is reshuffling its top climate team as it races to implement a major piece of climate legislation as well as finish a slew of key regulations before the end of President Biden’s first term.

Biden is hiring John D. Podesta, a veteran policymaker in Democratic administrations, to serve as his senior adviser in overseeing the spending of nearly $370 billion in clean-energy tax incentives and other programs included in the Inflation Reduction Act that are intended to combat climate change.

The president also announced Friday that he is promoting Ali Zaidi to be his national climate adviser after serving as deputy adviser. Zaidi will be replacing Gina McCarthy, who is planning to leave her post Sept. 16.

The personnel changes mark an inflection point for the Biden administration as it shifts its focus from working with Congress to pass the nation’s first major piece of climate legislation, to implement the law and leaning on executive action to reach Biden’s climate goals.

McCarthy is capping a career in government nearly two years into Biden’s term, during which his administration issued a slew of regulations reining in greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, air conditioners and other sources.

“Gina is indeed leaving us,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Friday. “She, as you know, has been a leader in what we have seen as one of the largest [investments] in dealing with climate change.”

Her long-anticipated exit from the White House comes after she played a key role in coordinating different government agencies in a united climate agenda. She has served as Biden’s top domestic climate adviser while John F. Kerry, a former secretary of state, acts as Biden’s chief climate envoy internationally.

Before joining the Biden administration, she ran a major green group called the Natural Resources Defense Council and served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Barack Obama.

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