August 5, 2019
John Kerry served as the United States’ 68th Secretary of State, from 2013 to 2017. He guided the State Department’s strategy on nuclear nonproliferation, combating radical extremism, and addressing the threat of climate change. His tenure was marked by the successful negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris Climate Agreement. From 1985 to 2013, he served as a U.S. Senator representing Massachusetts. He was Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2009 to 2013. Since retiring from government service, Kerry has continued to call for action in response to the global environmental crisis. This past April, he returned to Washington, D.C., to testify at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on the national security risks of climate change.
Gina McCarthy has been a leading advocate for common sense strategies to protect public health and the environment for more than 30 years. She served under President Barack Obama, as the 13th Administrator of the EPA, from 2013 to 2017. Her tenure heralded a paradigm shift in national environmental policy, expressly linking it with global public health. She led EPA initiatives that cut air pollution, protected water resources, reduced greenhouse gases, and strengthened chemical safety regulations. In 2015, she signed the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever national standards for reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants, underscoring the country’s commitment to domestic climate action and spurring international efforts that helped secure the Paris Climate Agreement. McCarthy is currently a professor at Harvard's School of Public Health, and director of C-CHANGE, its new Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment.