Governments Can Send Signals. They Can't Singlehandedly Save the Planet, Says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
When it comes to issues such as climate change, government agencies like the EPA are charged with setting a stage for solutions rather than taking action themselves.
Gina McCarthy is the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
She was first appointed to the EPA in 2009 as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. She was then appointed and confirmed as EPA Administrator in 2013.
Previously, McCarthy served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. During her career, which spans over 30 years, she has worked at both the state and local levels on critical environmental issues and helped coordinate policies on economic growth, energy, transportation and the environment.
McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a joint Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.
Gina McCarthy: Well I think we all have to recognize the strengths and limitations of government action. I think if truth be told my inclination is to recognize that at least in the U.S. most really good things start at the local level and work their way up to the state level and the federal government because the federal government moves more slowly than local level and you’re farther away from people and their real needs. And so I think one of the things that government needs to do is listen well. But here’s what I think we can do at the federal level more effectively. We can speak to the science because it’s complicated and we do a lot of research and we do a lot of translation of the science into what it means for people so that the decisions can be made on the basis of real science and on the basis of a real technical understanding. And we can evaluate those impacts and put choices out. Now what you really want to do at the national level is send long-term signals. And those signals go to people in markets because the best thing EPA and other regulatory agencies need to do is set standards based on what we think the science tells us, the law tells us, and what’s achievable. But those need to be long-term signals because we don’t deliver the solutions. We really don’t.
The market delivers the solution. That’s why on things like climate change we’re looking at regulating the power sector to reduce carbon pollution. I am setting standards out to 2030 because the solutions are here. What you need to do is give them the time to take hold in the marketplace. And then what happens is the solutions of today start taking off, but what’s most important is the solutions of tomorrow start getting driven into the market. They take time. It’s like being in a race and the federal government, you know, says what direction to run and they shoot the starting gun, but the ones in the race become the businesses, the entrepreneurs, the people who are driving new technologies. That’s how it has worked in EPA’s career for 44 years at EPA is we’ve listened to the science and the law and we have let solutions take off in the marketplace, which is where the cheapest, most effective always win. That’s why EPA can move environmental standards forward so effectively and grow jobs at the same time. And it’s extremely important that I think everybody think about how they position themselves at least in this democracy to be able to turn it into economic viability and economic opportunities. And nothing lends itself right now more readily than the challenge of climate change.
Who better to ask about governmental strategies for addressing climate change than the administrator of the EPA? In this video, Gina McCarthy explains how, when it comes to issues such as climate change, government agencies like the EPA are charged with setting a stage for solutions rather than taking action themselves. "The market delivers the solution," she explains. The EPA therefore focuses its attention on massaging the market with standards and sanctions that are informed by science in order to promote better, more verdant business practices on a long-term scale.
Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.
Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.
- Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
- The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
- The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.
A strange weakness in the Earth's protective magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- "The South Atlantic Anomaly" in the Earth's magnetic field is growing and possibly splitting, shows data.
- The information was gathered by the ESA's Swarm Constellation mission satellites.
- The changes may indicate the coming reversal of the North and South Poles.
According to a man that knows more than 20 languages, the key is to start in the middle.
- Canadian polyglot Steve Kaufmann says there is indeed a fast track to learning a new language. It involves doubling down on your listening and reading.
- By taking the focus off grammar rules that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to remember, you can instead develop habits by greater exposure to the language. Kaufmann likens the learning process to a hockey stick.
- In the beginning you make major progress as you climb the steep hill of the hockey stick, whereas the long shaft of the stick is the difficult part. Because you're not seeing day-to-day changes, you might lose motivation. So, stay the course by consuming content that interests you.