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On "Axios on HBO," White House national climate adviser Gina McCarthy called for a practical rather than idealistic approach to getting Americans to change their routines to save the planet.

  • McCarthy told me that with all the lost jobs, "Now is not the time to sit them down and say: 'Let's talk about climate. How can you sacrifice?' ... [I]t's never going to be a winning strategy. Right now, it's ridiculous."

Why it matters: Electric vehicles have had a luxury image. But McCarthy took me for a spin in an electric Chevrolet Bolt before the interview, as part of an effort to show electric vehicles can be an economical part of the average American's future.

McCarthy — the head of the EPA under President Obama, and now in a new job created by President Biden — noted that change is hard, because people love their routines.

  • McCarthy said that with all the new technology, "the whole job is to get people excited about what's available, get that deployed to its maximum."
  • "They don't want to have to do research on things like cars," she added. "They just want 'em to be what they used to be. And if you want to make the kind of shift that we need for climate, you've got to be optimistic about the future."

See more of my interview with Gina McCarthy on "Axios on HBO," on HBO and HBO Max.

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Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Aug 26, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Iowa ethanol advocates' angst over Biden's electric vehicle push

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

President Joe Biden's push for more Americans to use electric vehicles is creating angst amongst some Iowa ethanol advocates who argue the single-track goal could come at environmental and economic costs.

Why it matters: Electric vehicles create more competition at the gas pump, potentially hurting Iowa farmers' pockets who rely on corn and ethanol sales.

Why electric robotaxis might not save the planet

People will need to share electric robotaxis to avoid increased emissions, a study found. Photo: Cruise

Electric, self-driving taxis might not be the answer to our climate problems that many people think, a new study finds.

Why it matters: Transportation is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is one reason that the Biden administration is pushing for a rapid shift to electrification.

  • But instead of reducing energy consumption and emissions that contribute to climate change, widespread deployment of electric robotaxis could exacerbate those problems, the joint Harvard-MIT study found.

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue (R) plans to announce a campaign against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

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