Former EPA Administrator to Receive 2017 Carnot Prize

Philadelphia, PA—The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design will award the third annual Carnot Prize to the Honorable Gina McCarthy, former Administrator for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. McCarthy will receive the award at the Kleinman Center Energy Forum on October 3rd at 4:30 PM. The policy lecture and award ceremony will be open to the public.

“It is our privilege to honor Gina McCarthy with our third Carnot Prize,” said Kleinman Center faculty director Mark Alan Hughes. “Her career exemplifies the courage, creativity, and commitment required to make great changes in energy policy. She is an inspiration to the rising generation of leaders at Penn and around the world.”

The Honorable Lynn Scarlett, co-Chief External Affairs Officer at The Nature Conservancy, and former Acting Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of the Interior, will present the award to McCarthy. The award ceremony will include remarks in McCarthy’s honor from several distinguished guests and will conclude with a reflection on energy policy by McCarthy.


From 2013 to January 2017, McCarthy served as thirteenth Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under President Barack Obama. In 2015, under McCarthy’s leadership, the EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation. Other significant policies and regulations established during McCarthy’s time at EPA include tightening ozone pollution standards, improving coal ash disposal, issuing rules to protect U.S. waters from pollution, and developing first-ever limits on methane emissions on the oil and gas sector.

McCarthy is an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 


McCarthy has received numerous awards for her environmental leadership including the 2016 Conservationist of the Year Award from the National Wildlife Federation.  Last year she also received the Horizon Award for Environmental Leadership from Harvard’s Environmental Law Program, for extraordinary contributions to environmental law and policy. In 2014, the Energy Efficiency Forum inducted her into the Energy Efficiency Hall of Fame.


Prior to assuming the role of EPA Administrator, McCarthy served as Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation from 2009 to 2013. She was Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection from 2004 to 2009, and served as environmental advisor to both Democratic and Republican governors of the state of Massachusetts—most recently Mitt Romney. McCarthy is a Boston native and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1976. In 1981 she received her M.Sc. in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy from Tufts University.


The Carnot Prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, who in 1824 published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which is now recognized as the first statement of what is now known as the second law of thermodynamics. Carnot recognized that the power of the steam engine would “produce a great revolution” in human development. The Carnot Prize is intended to honor those leading revolutions in energy policy to further progress and prosperity.   


Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy cultivates energy policy innovation and promotes its application—creating opportunities for students, researchers, and professionals to debate viewpoints, explore options, and develop agendas for decision and action.

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Lindsey Samahon
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