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Treasury appoints John Morton, who served under Obama, climate counselor

John E. Morton, a former Obama administration official, has been appointed as the Treasury's first climate counselor, the department announced Monday. Photo courtesy of John E. Morton/Twitter
John E. Morton, a former Obama administration official, has been appointed as the Treasury's first climate counselor, the department announced Monday. Photo courtesy of John E. Morton/Twitter

April 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Monday appointed John E. Morton, a former Obama administration official, as its first climate counselor.

Morton has become "a recognized leader in the field of climate finance," according to his biography as a partner at climate-focused investment firm Pollination, where he most recently served as a specialist.

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He previously worked under the Obama administration as White House senior director for Energy and Climate Change at the National Security Council. In that position, he was responsible for coordinating strategies for international energy and climate change issues.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recruited the former Obama administration official to be the Treasury's first climate counselor. In the new role, Morton will lead the newly created Climate Hub, which is designed to implement a "coordinated climate policy strategy," the department said.

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The climate policy strategy will "bring to bear the full force of the Treasury Department on domestic and international policymaking, leveraging finance and financial risk mitigation to confront the threat of climate change," the statement said.

"These actions will position the economy for strong and sustainable growth consistent with net-zero emissions future."

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Three main focuses of the strategy include climate transition finance, climate-related economic and tax policy, and climate-related financial risks, according to the statement.

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As head of the Climate Hub, Morton will prioritize climate action to suit the climate-related goals of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' administration with expertise in domestic finance, economic policy, international affairs and tax policy.

The new climate policy strategy would support the Biden-Harris administration's goals through ensuring environmental justice considerations play a primary role in programs, policies and activities given the disproportionate impacts of climate change on disadvantaged communities, according to the Treasury.

It also will ensure the transition to a lower-carbon economy is equitable and support well-paying jobs.

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Morton has more than 25 years experience in emerging markets, investment finance, and economic and environmental policy. As the department's first climate counselor, he will report directly to Yellen.

"Finance and financial incentives will play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis at home and abroad and in providing capital for opportunities to transform the economy," Yellen said in a statement.

"I look forward to working with John and our team to leverage their expertise and ensure that Treasury is doing everything it can to respond to climate change while creating opportunities that strengthen our economy."

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