Yellen Backs Aligning U.S. Portfolios With Climate Goals

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday outlined her department’s plans on fighting climate change with remarks that are likely to ramp up a dispute with Republican lawmakers over the appropriate use of financial regulation on that front.

Yellen said the Biden administration would “encourage financial institutions to credibly align their portfolios and strategies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” the international accord to which the Biden administration recently recommitted the U.S.

The Treasury will also seek to align tax policy with climate goals, “including a transition to a decarbonized economy,” Yellen said in the text of remarks delivered at a virtual meeting of global finance ministers.

The comments are likely to provoke a response from Senate Republicans who have warned against regulatory overreach as the Biden White House embraces policies aimed at halting global warming.

Pennsylvania Senator Patrick Toomey, the Banking Committee’s top Republican, has been especially critical, urging financial regulators last month against “using their authorities to advance a progressive social agenda on climate change.” Republicans have indicated they’re concerned regulators will allow banks to shut out legal but less popular industries, for instance making financing more difficult for fossil-fuel companies.