Ceres’ statement on Janet Yellen’s nomination as Secretary of TreasuryCeres
The Biden administration will nominate former chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen for the position of Secretary of Treasury, a decision that “bodes well for the climate resilience of the U.S. economy,” said Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres.
An original advocate for the Kyoto Protocol and a longtime proponent for putting a price on carbon pollution, Yellen would be well positioned to address climate change as a systemic risk to the U.S. economy. Just last month, as Co-Chair of the G30 Working Group with former Bank of England Chair, Mark Carney, Yellen published, Mainstreaming the Transition to a Net-Zero Economy — a report that highlights the role of financial regulators in addressing climate risk.
Lubber continued: “We congratulate Janet Yellen on her nomination. With many years of experience at the highest levels of financial regulation and policy, Yellen understands the urgent need for monetary policy that protects the U.S. economy from systemic risks, including the systemic risk of climate change.
Given the recent affirmation from the Federal Reserve that climate change is a threat financial regulators have an obligation to address, Yellen would enter her new position with a clear mandate. One thing we hope she will do is lead the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) to incorporate climate risk assessment and management across all financial regulatory agencies — including the Federal Reserve, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other key federal agencies. We also hope that she uses her authority to review regulatory appointees to key financial regulatory agencies to ensure they have a demonstrated understanding of climate risk, and are prepared to regulate in a way that mitigates those risks.
The systemic economic risks posed by climate change demand decisive leadership from financial regulators, as well as coordination that ensures each is working in lock-step with one another. We’re hopeful Yellen will lead that effort with much success.”
In June, the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets issued the report Addressing Climate Change as a Systemic Risk: A Call to Action for U.S. Financial Regulators, which finds that climate change poses a systemic threat to U.S. markets and recommended more than 50 action steps agencies can take without any new legislation. One month later, investors with nearly $1 trillion in assets endorsed the report and wrote public letters to the heads of financial regulatory agencies like the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, urging them to heed its recommendations.
In September, a subcommittee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission produced the first ever climate risk report from the auspices of a U.S. financial regulator. The report affirmed climate change as a systemic financial risk and called for a variety of measures for agencies to take to protect the U.S. economy from climate change.
In October, the Ceres Accelerator issued Financing a Net-Zero Economy: Measuring and Addressing Climate Risk for Banks, which found that the U.S. banking sector is significantly more exposed to climate risk than banks are currently disclosing to investors.
Just weeks ago, for the first time ever, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell affirmed that climate action falls within the mandate of the Federal Reserve, and his agency included for the first time, climate change in its list of risks to financial stability in its semiannual report.All Press Releases