The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Treasury's Climate Report Sees Impending Catastrophe and Shrugs


The following statement is attributable to Jeff Hauser, Executive Director of the Revolving Door Project, in response to the report on climate-related financial risk released today by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on behalf of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

"It's extremely disappointing to see this long-awaited report be so watered down by what can only be described as climate apathetic FSOC members."

"The report fails to mention fossil fuels as the key driver of climate risk. It offers no specific timelines for any of its recommendations. And it does not include specific policy recommendations beyond disclosing and assessing risk. A terse summary of the report would read 'it's good to notice that our planet is burning, but we won't do anything to fix it.' After nearly 20% of Biden's term in office and with only 98 months until 2030, by which time U.S. emissions must be cut in half to avoid climate catastrophe, a report suggesting we learn more about climate risks without mitigating them is a failure."

"While the report will allow do-good members such as the Securities and Exchange Commission to continue their actions to mitigate climate-related risks, it is clear that Yellen's insistence on a consensus vote spoiled the report's potential. Finding consensus between those who see or don't see our climate reality is not democracy in action: it's homicidal."

"Yellen should not have sought to appease Trump holdover members such as Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Jelena McWilliams (who voted to abstain anyways), and climate-denying Independent Insurance Expert Thomas Workman. These members are committed to upholding the myth that the financial status quo is sustainable rather than addressing the crisis before them. Yellen did not need their votes for the final report and she should not have given even an inch to get them. Yellen also may be acting to protect the renomination interests of Powell by making the report too inoffensive to oppose. For the Secretary to do so in the face of well warranted high expectations from climate finance experts shows no care for her own legacy or, more importantly, the financial and environmental health of the United States and the world."

"The White House should not have allowed Yellen to release such a pathetic report. Yellen has let down the billions of people who are counting on the U.S. to lead in mitigating climate change. This is a matter of life and death."

"Journalists interested in accurately covering this report should also look carefully at the influence of Treasury officials including Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, Chief of Staff Didem Nisanci, and Under Secretary for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang. We also suggest scrutiny into whether the large number of Federal Reserve staff currently working at Treasury is diluting the Treasury Department's adherence to President Biden's agenda."

The Revolving Door Project (RDP) scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.