Steyer has been speaking with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy on the need to work with the private sector on what will likely be one of the president’s most expensive initiatives, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. Tom Steyer, a billionaire who ran for president during the Democratic primary, is among several business leaders who have been actively engaging the White House and administration leaders on their climate proposals. Steyer spent millions to defeat Trump and has invested in climate change initiatives. He has a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Biden has proposed a more aggressive climate change policy than his predecessor did. Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris climate agreement in 2017 and lifted Obama era regulations on methane gas, among other initiatives that could end up hurting the environment. Biden brought the U.S. back into the the Paris climate agreement on his Inauguration Day. “There’s no longer the fear of the tweet, which I think was a legitimate fear from a lot of the business leaders in trying to speak out on these issues,” Hugh Welsh, president of DSM North America whose company is a member of the group CEO Climate Dialogue, told CNBC on Monday.
Biden has also made addressing climate change a key part of his $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Biden’s proposal pushes for a $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle market. It’s all part of the president’s goal to get the country to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. For instance, executives say are less worried about a tweet from the president if they try to make a push for new climate policies. Former President Donald Trump was known to target corporations that appeared to oppose him on key issues.
The CEO Climate Dialogue has almost two dozen members including companies from Wall Street and the energy sector. The goal of the organization is to promote the use of the private sector and a more market-based approach to securing net-zero emissions by 2050. Welsh, of CEO Climate Dialogue, told CNBC that the group has been in touch with the Biden White House to help improve relations with corporate leaders. The Chamber of Commerce and the CEO Climate Dialogue have also been engaging the White House on climate initiatives. The Chamber opposes Biden’s plan to raise corporate taxes, but it backs an infrastructure overhaul.
This person declined to be named in order to discuss private matters. Representatives for Morgan Stanley did not return requests for comment. The White House did not respond to a request for comment before publication. Steyer was also a speaker at Morgan Stanley’s annual climate conference, this person noted. Steyer told executives and investors at the meeting that they shouldn’t invest in fossil fuel companies, as a way to combat climate change.
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