The domestic crises continue in U.S. ports and on the southern border but President Joe Biden and his administration are focused on so-called climate change, including releasing a a 40-page report on Friday on how the issue threatens the U.S. economy.
The report connects weather to endangering finances, insurance, housing, and savings for American families.
The summary of the report states:
Climate change poses serious and systemic risks to the U.S. economy and financial system. As outlined in this report, the United States government is using all of its tools to properly account for and mitigate climate change-related financial and economic risks, as climate impacts are already affecting American jobs, homes, families’ hard-earned savings, and businesses.
The country must work with urgency to reduce the risks of climate change by addressing its drivers and creating a stronger, more resilient economy. This report lays out a roadmap for measuring, disclosing, managing, and mitigating climate-related financial risk across the economy, including to the Federal Government, while also catalyzing public and private investment to seize the opportunity of a net-zero, clean energy future.
This comes following Biden’s May 2021 executive order. Biden said of his order:
The intensifying impacts of climate change present physical risk to assets, publicly traded securities, private investments, and companies…the failure of financial institutions to appropriately and adequately account for and measure these physical and transition risks threatens the competitiveness of U.S. companies and markets, the life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families, and the ability of U.S. financial institutions to serve communities. … In this effort, the Federal Government should lead by example by appropriately prioritizing Federal investments and conducting prudent fiscal management.
The report speaks about an economic “realignment” and even the supply chain — without mentioning the current crisis:
This realignment will also include a greater exploration of climate-related financial risks related to the agricultural, forest, and land use sector (AFOLU). The Federal Government needs to better understand how AFOLU climate-related financial risk might affect U.S. supply chains and U.S. farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural workers as well as how the Federal Government can play a positive role by promoting climate-smart agricultural and forestry practices, investing in coastal resilience and other land and water projects that mitigate climate impacts, and using financial and other tools to conserve critical carbon sinks.
“If this year has shown us anything, it’s that climate change poses an ongoing urgent and systemic risk to our economy and to the lives and livelihoods of everyday Americans, and we must act now,” Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate adviser, told reporters, according to Time magazine.
The Biden administration begins tackling the “systemic” economic risks from climate change https://t.co/4KCOpdS33u
— TIME (@TIME) October 15, 2021
Time magazine reported on the “government-wide” plan:
Among the steps outlined is the government’s Financial Stability Oversight Council developing the tools to identify and lessen climate-related risks to the economy. The Treasury Department plans to address the risks to the insurance sector and availability of coverage. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking at mandatory disclosure rules about the opportunities and risks generated by climate change.
The Labor Department on Wednesday proposed a rule for investment managers to factor environmental decisions into the choices made for pensions and retirement savings. The Office of Management and Budget announced the government will begin the process of asking federal agencies to consider greenhouse gas emissions from the companies providing supplies. Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal 2023 will feature an assessment of climate risks.
Federal agencies involved in lending and mortgages for homes are looking for the impact on the housing market, with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and its partners developing disclosures for homebuyers and flood and climate-related risks. The Department of Veterans Affairs will also look at climate risks for its home lending program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating the standards for its National Flood Insurance Program, potentially revising guidelines that go back to 1976.
Time said the timing of the report is significant because it is designed “to showcase to the world how serious the U.S. government is about tackling climate change ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference running from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland.”
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