WH to Address Climate Change Econ Risk 10/15 06:06
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Biden administration is taking steps to address the
economic risks from climate change, issuing a 40-page report Friday on
government-wide plans to protect the financial, insurance and housing markets
and the savings of American families.
Under the report, the mortgage process, stock market disclosures, retirement
plans, federal procurement and government budgeting are all being reconsidered
so the country could price in the risks being created by climate change. The
report is a follow-up to a May executive order by President Joe Biden that
essentially calls on the government to analyze how extreme heat, flooding,
storms, wildfires and broader adjustments to address climate change could
affect the world's largest economy.
"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.
A February storm in Texas led to widespread power outages, 210 deaths and
severe property damage. Wildfires raged in Western states. The heat dome in the
Pacific Northwest caused record temperatures in Seattle and Portland, Oregon.
Hurricane Ida struck Louisiana in August and caused deadly flooding in the
The actions being recommended by the Biden administration reflect a
significant shift in the broader discussion about climate change, suggesting
that the nation must prepare for the costs that families, investors and
governments will bear.
The report is also an effort 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.
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
"We now do recognize that climate change is a systemic risk," McCarthy said.
"We have to look fundamentally at the way the federal government does its job
and how we look at the finance system and its stability."