Obama’s Environmental Legacy, with EPA Chief Gina McCarthy

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy relays some of her proudest accomplishments working in the Obama administration: reducing carbon emissions, successfully pushing for more efficient vehicles, and championing renewable energy.

Gina McCarthy: This president is really establishing a tremendous legacy on the environment as well as the economy. And I don’t need to speak to the economy. Let me speak to my issues. First of all I have been engaged since day one on efforts to reduce carbon pollution, most notably in the car industry. If you take a look at the cars of today, you have three times as many models for sale today as you had when he took office that are 30 miles per gallon or more in terms of their efficiency. That is because of actions of this administration. We are doubling fuel economy by 2025. We’re doing that as a fuel economy standard and a carbon pollution standard. We have been looking at reducing toxic emissions from utilities. We actually put forward something that looks at reducing mercury and arsenic. Things that we haven’t been able to move forward on. And the result of that is that it’s already past the compliance period. We never threatened reliability. We got some of those old, inefficient units have gone out that didn’t have modern controls. Our communities are healthier. We’re saving up to 11,000 lives every year as a result of that.

We have renewables when three times as much as when this president came into office. Ten times more solar than we’ve ever had. And these are becoming competitive technologies. We have also grown in the building trades in terms of how you build energy-efficient homes and buildings. We have grown thousands and thousands of jobs. We are building the economy of the future by building in your considerations on environment into those decisions. We’re looking at water rules today. I am actually moving forward with a final rule that is going to settle the question of what waters are important to protect so we can protect people’s drinking water into the future. And how do we adapt to a changing climate when you have California with such significant water shortages. What does that mean? How do we change the way we do business? And instead of piping water out we’re looking at green infrastructure moving in. So we have a tremendous, rich legacy that this president is going to leave. And I think climate is really going to be the one that’s most talked about, but frankly our legacy needs to be that we’re nimble enough as a government and as states working with the federal government to be able to see what the challenges are today and to position our solutions in ways that grow our ability to tackle the problems of the future. 

When we look back on the Obama administration decades from now, what will we say about his environmental record? Assuming we're not all 10 feet beneath water, the chances are high that the president's environmental legacy will be a positive one. That's the opinion of his EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, who, in this video interview, relays some of her proudest accomplishments working in the Obama administration: reducing carbon emissions, successfully pushing for more efficient vehicles, and championing renewable energy.

How tiny bioelectronic implants may someday replace pharmaceutical drugs

Scientists are using bioelectronic medicine to treat inflammatory diseases, an approach that capitalizes on the ancient "hardwiring" of the nervous system.

Credit: Adobe Stock / SetPoint Medical
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Bioelectronic medicine is an emerging field that focuses on manipulating the nervous system to treat diseases.
  • Clinical studies show that using electronic devices to stimulate the vagus nerve is effective at treating inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Although it's not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, vagus nerve stimulation may also prove effective at treating other diseases like cancer, diabetes and depression.
Keep reading Show less

Physicist creates AI algorithm that may prove reality is a simulation

A physicist creates an AI algorithm that predicts natural events and may prove the simulation hypothesis.

Credit: Adobe stock
Surprising Science
  • Princeton physicist Hong Qin creates an AI algorithm that can predict planetary orbits.
  • The scientist partially based his work on the hypothesis which believes reality is a simulation.
  • The algorithm is being adapted to predict behavior of plasma and can be used on other natural phenomena.
Keep reading Show less
Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
Why do some people fight and others flee when confronting violence?
Keep reading Show less

Japan finds a huge cache of scarce rare-earth minerals

Japan looks to replace China as the primary source of critical metals

Rare-earth magnets (nikkytok/Shutterstock)
Technology & Innovation
  • Enough rare earth minerals have been found off Japan to last centuries
  • Rare earths are important materials for green technology, as well as medicine and manufacturing
  • Where would we be without all of our rare-earth magnets?
Keep reading Show less

Eight women at the forefront of the world’s COVID-19 response

Beyond making up 70% of the world's health workers, women researchers have been at the cutting edge of coronavirus research.

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • The gender gap persists, as only 33% of the world's researchers are women.
  • Here are just some of the women making lasting contributions in the fight against COVID-19.
  • They include Dr Özlem Türeci, co-founder of BioNTech, which helped produce the first vaccine.
Keep reading Show less
Quantcast