August 02, 2021

Van Hollen, Warren, Gillibrand Urge Head of Treasury’s New Climate Hub to Implement a Bold Agenda to Tackle Climate Crisis

Text of Letter (PDF)

United States Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to John Morton – the first Climate Counselor at the new Climate Hub at the U.S. Department of the Treasury – urging swift and aggressive action to tackle the climate crisis, a major threat to the country’s health, security, and financial system.

“We are seeking information on how you plan to fulfill this role in the months ahead, including how you intend to coordinate a strategy in response to President Biden’s recent Executive Order, which directs Treasury to issue a report on how Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) member agencies are integrating climate-related financial risk into their policies and programs,” wrote the senators. “Given that FSOC is comprised of a mix of regulators – at both the federal and state levels – with potentially differing priorities, it is imperative that you wield your leadership position in the Climate Hub to support FSOC’s efforts to align these financial regulators and implement strong guidelines to ensure that banks and financial institutions, which continue to finance risky fossil fuel investments, are adequately prepared for climate-related disruptions.” 

Secretary Yellen first announced her intention to appoint an official to lead Treasury’s climate efforts during her Senate confirmation hearing in January 2021. In April, the department announced that it was prioritizing a broad range of climate-related policies and that Morton would serve as the first Climate Counselor to lead a newly created Climate Hub as part of its new coordinated climate strategy. As described by Treasury, this climate policy strategy is to “support the Biden-Harris Administration’s critical climate-related goals.” 

“We are glad to see that Treasury is committed to exercising its unique responsibilities to develop and deploy economy-wide strategies to mitigate climate-related risks, and we look forward to working together to use every tool available, as quickly as we can. We urge you to develop and implement the bold and long overdue agenda that is necessary to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy and combat the urgent climate crisis facing us,” wrote the senators

The senators have requested responses no later than August 16, 2021. 

Combatting the climate crisis is one of Senator Warren's highest priorities.

  • Senator Warren has been calling for mandatory climate-related risk disclosures. On April 15, 2021, she and Representative Sean Casten (D-Ill.) reintroduced the Climate Risk Disclosure Act of 2021 which would reduce the chances of environmental and financial catastrophe by requiring public companies to disclose more information about their exposure to climate-related risks.
  • On May 27, 2021, Senator Warren and Congressman Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced the Buy Green Act to use the enormous breadth of U.S. federal procurement to help fight the climate crisis, spur innovation, and boost demand for American-made clean energy products at home and in the rapidly-growing markets for green products abroad.
  • On March 18, 2021, Senator Warren unveiled the BUILD GREEN Infrastructure and Jobs Act which would invest $500 billion over ten years in state, local, and tribal projects to jumpstart the transition to all electric public vehicles and rail and help modernize the nation's crumbling infrastructure.  
  • On May 27, 2021, Senator Warren and Congressman Andy Levin (D-Mich.) introduced the National Institutes of Clean Energy Act of 2021, legislation that would invest $400 billion over the next ten years to establish and operate a new system of institutes at the Department of Energy dedicated to research and development (R&D) of advanced clean energy technologies.