PUBLISHED:December 14, 2020

Faculty join committee planning for a climate-resilient economic recovery


The faculty members are part of a working group focusing on economic and financial strategies for addressing climate change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Duke Law professors Lawrence Baxter, Gina-Gail Fletcher, and Sarah Bloom Raskin are serving on a panel of top economic thinkers who are drafting policy recommendations that will facilitate a resilient and sustainable post-COVID economic recovery.

The Regenerative Crisis Response Committee is a non-partisan group of economists, scholars, and policy experts who are studying ways to reduce the U.S. economy’s climate-related financial risks. Their goal is to create a set of fiscal and monetary policies, programs, guardrails, and regulations to channel resources toward mitigating climate-related risk and supporting the resilience of the economy at large. Raskin, a visiting professor of the practice of law and former deputy treasury secretary and Federal Reserve governor, is the committee chair.

With trillions of dollars being deployed from the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and other economic stimulus initiatives, federal agencies, regulators, and lawmakers have a unique opportunity to change the risk trajectory by investing in renewables, creating jobs in clean energy sectors, and promoting environmental policies that will lead to a better quality of life, Raskin said.

“The Regenerative Crisis Response Committee will explore and share options for fiscal and monetary policymakers that can be applied now — with the required speed. I am honored to work with this brain trust to advance the most effective policy strategies — transforming our existential risks into inclusive opportunities that regenerate our economy.”

Said Fletcher: “The Committee’s work comes at a pivotal moment in time and is innovative in its approach to climate change and regenerative finance. I am thrilled to be part of this forward-thinking group of scholars and policymakers as we consider ways to make sustainability and economic revitalization compatible and complementary.”

Baxter is the David T. Zhang Professor of the Practice of Law and faculty director of the Global Financial Markets Center. A former banking executive, he focuses his teaching and scholarship on the regulatory environment for financial services.

Fletcher joined Duke Law in July as professor of law from Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law. A scholar of complex financial instruments and market regulation, she helped draft parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act following the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

Raskin joined Duke Law in July as visiting professor of the practice of law. She is also a distinguished fellow of the Global Financial Markets Center and senior fellow at the Duke Center on Risk. A former deputy treasury secretary and governor of the Federal reserve, she is a prominent voice warning of the risks climate change poses to the stability of the financial system, from immediate severe weather events that strain government budgets and destroy physical assets, infrastructure, and supply chains to long-term disruptive effects on global financial markets and the obsolescence of industries and business models that rely on fossil fuels.

The initiative is supported by a coalition of funders, including lead sponsor the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, which has long supported research into “decarbonizing” the financial sector through fiscal and monetary policy.

“The formation of the Regenerative Crisis Response Committee by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, among other leaders in climate change thinking, could not be more timely,” Baxter said. “Action is urgent and there is a lot of work to be done, accompanied by a new administration that recognizes this urgency. I am honored and delighted to be on this distinguished committee.”

The committee, composed of public service veterans, also includes Jay Shambaugh, professor of economics and international affairs at George Washington University; Joseph Stiglitz, chief economist of the Roosevelt Institute, former chief economist of the World Bank, and 2001 laureate of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; Lisa Cook, professor in the Department of Economics and at James Madison College at Michigan State University; Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, global director of the Sustainable Finance Center at the World Resources Institute; and Megan Greene, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Three members have served on the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors and two at the Federal Reserve; two are former U.S. Treasury officials; and two have worked with the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.