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Janet Yellen, who was recently confirmed by the Senate as Treasury Secretary, plans to appoint former deputy Treasury secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to head up a new Treasury “climate hub.” The hub would focus on assessing and combatting financial risks associated with climate change. Experts say the move is one more step in President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government climate strategy.
Why This Matters: The dual crises of climate change and COVID-19 are putting immense strain on our economy. At the same time, we have an opportunity to rebuild our economy in a way that moves us away from fossil fuel dependency. As Evergreen Action explained, “the Treasury Department has the power to disentangle our financial system from fossil fuel investments which put us all at risk, make substantive green investments, and stabilize our financial system. To engage in a national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis, and to build a just and thriving clean energy economy, every agency in the federal government must do its part.”
Secretary Yellen has made it clear that the Treasury Department under her leadership will play a significant role in President Biden’s climate action agenda.
The Biden Cabinet Gets to Work: The whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change began being implemented shortly after President Biden was sworn into office. The first meeting of the Biden climate task force occurred last week and focused on the acceleration of a clean energy revolution as well as job creation.
As renewable energy becomes more affordable and more states and cities invest in renewable infrastructure, the nation must be ready to act quickly to ensure that our economy adapts and changes in kind–goals that are bolstered by the climate task force.
Already, President Biden has begun to divest from fossil fuels and has reversed many Trump-era policies that cleared the way for mining and drilling on public lands.
There are countless growing markets in the clean energy and appliance sector, and if the U.S. invests and engages with these markets quickly, it can strengthen itself against potential losses from the fading oil and gas industry.
From the Ground Up: At her Senate confirmation hearing last month, Yellen called climate change an “existential crisis” to the economy. “I think we need to seriously look at assessing the risk to the financial system from climate change,” she said.
Raskin, a veteran of the Obama administration, agrees whole-heartedly, saying in several speeches and interviews that U.S. regulators must do more to build economic resilience in the face of climate change. Raskin’s position would be the first of its kind at the Treasury. Yellen and Raskin plan to focus their climate efforts on stability risks and tax policy incentives.
Other departments have also begun cleaning up Trump-era climate policy. Just after the Presidential inauguration, the Interior Department announced a moratorium on all drilling on public lands. And newly-confirmed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has also announced plans to invest heavily in renewable public transport and electric vehicles.
Why this Matters: Under the Paris Agreement, nations agreed to prevent the rise in global temperature from reaching two degrees Celsius and keeping the rise under 1.5 degrees celsius, but that won’t be possible if our emissions start going up again.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer On Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would be returning to the Obama-era method of calculating the “social cost of greenhouse gasses.” This metric is a measure of how much each metric ton of carbon emitted will cost future generations, including the costs of hurricane damage, flooding, wildfires, and other effects of […]
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