Climate Progressives Eye Treasury As Key Post If Biden Wins

Alexander C. Kaufman
·2-min read

The Treasury Department is emerging as a high-priority for climate progressives seeking to influence a Joe Biden administration, should he win the 2020 election.

Two names top the climate activists’ lists: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Federal Reserve governor who served as the deputy Treasury secretary in President Barack Obama’s second term.

It’s not hard to see why advocates are looking beyond who would run the Environmental Protection Agency under a President Biden. Transitioning the global economy away from fossil fuels at the speed needed to keep warming in a relatively safe range requires unprecedented changes to the flows of private and public capital. Forecasters have long warned that warming-fueled disasters and risky bets on fossil fuels’ long-term use could crash the economy.

Shifts are already underway in the insurance sector. Banks and financiers, facing mounting pressure from activists and record numbers of billion-dollar climate disasters, also are starting to take the risk seriously. Advocates hope the defeat of President Donald Trump, who rejects the reality and seriousness of climate change, could pave the way to potentially reverse his administration’s wanton handouts to fossil fuel companies and reform the financial system before climate change sparks another chaotic market crash.

“There is a real recognition that climate risk is a structural risk for the U.S. economy and the global economy, and you can’t escape that,” said Bracken Hendricks, a climate policy expert and former senior adviser to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate-focused bid for the Democratic nomination last year. “The West Coast is on fire, you’ve got a hurricane hitting New Orleans. These are real economic impacts on real businesses.”

Warren, whose years of stumping for financial reform fueled her rise as one of Biden’s foremost primary rivals, ran for president on a sweeping climate platform...

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