Billionaire businessman Tom Steyer is keeping up his climate push with President Joe Biden's White House, advocating for private-sector involvement – all while Biden pushes raising taxes on corporations and billionaires.
In addition to meeting with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy, Steyer reportedly pressed Morgan Stanley's annual climate conference executives and investors to stop pouring money into fossil fuel companies, sources told CNBC.
Morgan Stanley and the White House did not return CNBC requests for comment and the source spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Steyer, who ran on a climate-friendly agenda himself and spent millions in a failed Democrat presidential primary bid to defeat former President Donald Trump, has a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes.
Steyer's official website labels him an activist and quotes The Washington Post: "Steyer has played a critical behind-the-scenes role in helping shape the country's national energy policy."
Steyer's website also boasts: "For the past decade, Tom has worked directly with people to take on big corporations & win."
Now he wants to lure those corporations in, lead them into Biden's tax hikes, push them into green energy, and make it costly for lawmakers who oppose such legislation.
Despite talk of raising their taxes, businesses are becoming more apt to work with the Biden White House than the Trump White House because of the decreased likelihood of blowback for promoting climate-change initiatives, according to the report.
"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," DSM North America's Hugh Welsh, active on climate change with the group CEO Climate Dialogue, told CNBC.
"The group has been involved with Gina McCarthy and some of the others in, I guess, rebuilding relationships with the White House after the last 4 years," Welsh added.
Getting the billionaires and corporations on board is vital to the White House hopes for passing Green New Deal-like legislation, including its $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan and corporate tax increases.
"We've got to figure out how do we allow the private sector to be in a position to finance, deploy, and commercialize these technologies," U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Energy Institute President Marty Durbin told CNBC.
"That's how we are going to see emission reductions at the end of the day."
Clean Energy for Biden is a fundraising group getting involved with the private-sector push, too, while evolving into 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) nonprofits, both called Clean Energy for America, according to the report.
It will ultimately be used to back Biden's climate agenda and political candidates who get behind it in Congress, "supporting candidates at federal, state, and local level through fundraising, mobilizing the clean energy workforce, and serving as an early resource," according to its website.
It will also be "holding Members of Congress accountable for their votes," suggesting it will be costly for Democrat lawmakers to vote against Biden-backed climate-change bills.
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