Climate Change is 'Big One' of 'Emerging Risks,' Says Treasury Sec.

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Posted: Mar 31, 2021 7:30 PM
Climate Change is 'Big One' of 'Emerging Risks,' Says Treasury Sec.

Source: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Democrats found another opportunity to tackle their pet project of climate change. On Wednesday, Sec. of Treasury Janet Yellen made her inaugural remarks as head of the Financial Stability Oversight Council. 

In reporting on Sec. Yellen's remarks, Politco's Victoria Guida wrote, with added emphasis:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday called climate change “an existential threat” and the biggest emerging risk to the health of the U.S. financial system, pledging to marshal regulatory forces to guard against its harmful effects.

Yellen made the promise during her inaugural appearance as the head of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a panel of top regulators tasked with policing Wall Street behavior that has the potential to crash the entire economy.

The council held its first public meeting under Yellen's leadership Wednesday and focused on climate for the first time since Congress established the body in 2010. The group includes the heads of the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We cannot only look back and learn the lessons of last year,” Yellen said at that meeting. “We must also look ahead, at emerging risks. Climate change is obviously the big one.”

Sec. Yellen didn't waste any time then. It doesn't come as too much of a surprise though. Earlier this month, the secretary met with Jubilee USA Network, as well as leaders of the Jewish faith, Reuters reported. According to the Treasury, "She noted that the Administration is committed to using the full power of the U.S. federal government to address climate change as part of the Build Back Better plan." 

Not everyone was on board, however, especially when it comes to concerns with the FSOC. As Andrew Ackerman and Kate Davidson wrote in their reporting for the Wall Street Journal:

Conservative critics have for years attacked the FSOC as too political, opaque and overreaching. Michael Piwowar, a former Republican member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, described the council in a 2014 speech as a “Firing Squad on Capitalism,” over what he described as its lack of accountability.

“It will be up to Secretary Yellen to determine how transparent she wants the FSOC to be,” said Mr. Piwowar, now executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets, in an interview Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, questioned the FSOC’s work on climate. “I remain concerned that FSOC members may seek to advance a progressive social agenda on global warming, which is beyond the scope of their respective missions and authorities,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “This effort is not grounded in science or economics, but is instead a self-fulfilling prophecy: claim there are future regulatory risks for carbon intensive industries, then use unelected, unaccountable financial regulators to impose regulatory costs on those activities.”

Earlier this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised eyebrows when she referenced "climate change" when it comes to the crisis at the border. As Beth reported:

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