Biden Nominates Yellen; Creates White House Climate Office
Last week, President-elect Biden announced his national security team leads, Janet Yellen to serve as Secretary of the Treasury, and selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to lead a newly created Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
President-elect Biden’s leadership selections thus far are demonstrative of his whole-of-government approach to climate change.
As the “Climate Czar,” Kerry will coordinate climate programs across multiple agencies, while leveraging his strong relationships to seek international buy-in to address climate change on a global scale.
The White House Envoy for Climate will be housed in the National Security Council (NSC) with a near-term priority of the US rejoining the Paris Climate Accord.
In addition, Kerry is expected to oversee Biden Administration efforts related to carbon capture technologies, promoting clean and renewable energy, and messaging climate change as a national security concern.
Biden’s climate focus is also represented in his selection of Yellen who, if confirmed, will be the first female Treasury Secretary.
Her previous roles as Chair of the Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisors prompted positive reaction from the NASDAQ and S&P – jumping hundreds of points Monday and Tuesday.
During President Bill Clinton’s Administration, Yellen emphasized the economic benefits of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which mandated greenhouse gas emission restrictions.
In recent years, Yellen joined other economists to champion a carbon-fee program, which would provide cash dividends to the American people in exchange for reduced US greenhouse gas emissions.
Biden’s selection of Yellen and the creation of a climate focused NSC position provide a view into the President-elect’s desired focus during his first year. Nonetheless, his ambitious climate programs will face significant roadblocks in Congress.
For example, if President-elect Biden were to pursue a carbon-tax proposal, liberal Democrats may push back to say the approach is not aggressive enough.
Likewise, Republicans are unlikely to support a plan that places an excessive economic burden on industry and small businesses.
As we look ahead to President-elect Biden’s first 100 days, we will remain tuned to future cabinet nominees and closely monitor executive action in areas that could affect energy producers, consumers, and marketers.