Administrator Gina McCarthy, Remarks at Notre Dame, As Prepared


Hi everyone. I’m happy to be here. I want to thank Father Jenkins and Notre Dame for having me.

On Wednesday, during remarks at the White House, the Holy Father Pope Francis said “when it comes to the care of our ‘common home,’ we are living at a critical moment of history.”

Indeed, the Pope, President Obama, and countless other world leaders have made clear that the time to act on climate change is now, and that all of us--whether we’re in the public, private, academic, or faith-based communities--have a role to play in addressing this global challenge. For the sake of our kids, and those who the most vulnerable, we must act today.

I have to say, the Pope’s time in Washington was personal for me – not just as a Catholic, but as someone who has been in the fight against climate change for more than 30 years. His trip reaffirmed that the tide really has turned; that we’re past the old days of debate and incremental progress. Solutions are here. Action is happening now.

The steps being taken right here at Notre Dame are a tremendous example of that. Here, faith and values are completely aligned with the imperative to take action.

I commend the University of Notre Dame for setting the ambitious goal of ceasing to burn coal entirely within five years and cutting its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030. That is what leadership and stewardship look like.

And at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama’s leadership, we are doing our part. This past summer, President Obama issued EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The plan puts us on track to slash carbon pollution from U.S. power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

And—building on six years of effort by the Obama administration—it puts us on track to avoid thousands of premature deaths and hospital admissions, and tens of thousands of asthma attacks in 2030.

Americans recognize that our nation’s transition to a clean energy future is already happening. The Clean Power Plan is going to accelerate that progress even more.

Ultimately, it will lead to savings for American families on their utility bills, and billions of dollars in net benefits for our country. It’s a win all around.

So we are moving ahead at full speed. And I am more optimistic than ever that we will reach an ambitious international agreement in Paris later this year.

I thank Notre Dame for its continued leadership in this global effort, and I look forward to continuing our work together toward a clean energy future.

Thank you.