•   
  •   
  •   

Politics Climate advocates turn sights on Wall Street

02:55  23 october  2021
02:55  23 october  2021 Source:   thehill.com

The AP Interview: James Shaw wants climate talks to deliver

  The AP Interview: James Shaw wants climate talks to deliver WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has shown that humans are very good at responding to an immediate crisis, says New Zealand's Climate Change Minister James Shaw. But when it comes to dealing with a slower-moving threat like climate change, he says, we're “terribly bad.” Shaw spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday ahead of a key climate summit that starts in Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 31. Many environmentalists say the U.N. summit, known as COP26, represents the world's final chance to avert a climate catastrophe.

The fight over climate change is increasingly focusing on Wall Street, with a key federal watchdog this week directing regulators like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to do what they can to lower emissions.

a person standing in front of a building: Climate advocates turn sights on Wall Street © Getty Images Climate advocates turn sights on Wall Street

Civil society advocates told The Hill that in addition to sending a signal to Wall Street, the move by a top interagency oversight group to label climate change an existential threat to the financial system aids Democrats' efforts to use financial regulation as a tool in the climate fight.

The report, issued by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), steered clear of specific prescriptions to financial regulators, such as calling for mandatory stress tests, capital requirements or caps on fossil fuel investments, as The Hill reported Thursday.

If the U.S. Spends Big on Climate, the Rest of the World Might Follow

  If the U.S. Spends Big on Climate, the Rest of the World Might Follow If the U.S. Spends Big on Climate, the Rest of the World Might Follow“It seems to me quite shocking,” says Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland who now works on climate issues as the chair of the Elders. To have West Virginia’s continued reliance on coal “holding up a really important bill for the United States is frustrating to observe.

But by finding that a "disorderly transition" to a low carbon economy was a key threat to the economy, it has opened the potential floodgates for financial regulators to act against emissions in order to stabilize the market, said Alex Martin of Americans for Financial Reform.

"Once you make that call, it's obvious [that regulators] need to intervene, and the end result of that process will be lower emissions," Martin said.

"And that will happen because emissions threaten the financial system," he added.

Advocates said they were disappointed with the report's lack of specific guidelines but agreed that beyond all the qualified clauses lies a clear warning to America's financial system.

"The phrasing of the recommendations is extremely weak, with most couched in several layers of caveats," said Yevgeny Shrago, a policy counsel with Public Citizen.

Climate vs. jobs: How Democrats talk about policy proposals may make the difference

  Climate vs. jobs: How Democrats talk about policy proposals may make the difference Democrats appear set to jettison the cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s climate agenda, but conservatives may have some answers about how to revive it.It isn't surprise coming from Manchin, who famously ran for re-election in 2010 with a TV ad in which he literally shot his party's last major legislative attempt to control greenhouse gas emissions.

However, Shrago said, "If you [take] what they say seriously about climate being a risk, then there's no question that regulators need to take a bunch of these actions." He added that failing to do so "would be a dereliction of their duty."

The FSOC report is also one of the first major reports from a financial regulator to acknowledge that "communities of color are facing risk from climate first and worse, and they hold the bill most acutely if we go into a climate recession," Becca Ellison of Evergreen Action said.

The report included one unambiguous policy prescription: that regulators work to create a rigorous framework for banks and publicly traded companies to disclose their risks from both climate change and the energy transition.

Martin and the other advocates said that while more needs to be done, the labeling of climate change as an existential threat is a key step to forcing regulators to confront the magnitude of the economy's exposure to climate risk.

Presidents, prime ministers, activists and royals: who’s going to COP26, Glasgow’s climate change conference

  Presidents, prime ministers, activists and royals: who’s going to COP26, Glasgow’s climate change conference What do President Joe Biden, Queen Elizabeth II, teenage activist Greta Thunberg and even some Republican members of Congress have in common? In total, 120 heads of state will be appearing at the two-week conference. But even compared to other countries, Biden is bringing quite a crew, including former Sec. of State John Kerry, who currently serves as special presidential envoy on climate change, and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Administrator Gina McCarthy, who is the first White House national climate advisor. “Glasgow will be extremely important,” Kerry said in an interview last week with the BBC.

Once they "look under the hood" at banks and public companies, the SEC and others will likely "see a lot of climate-related risk that is unexpected and has been easy to ignore," Martin said.

This puts financial regulators in a key position to confront fossil fuel emissions that congressional Democrats have so far been unable to counter.

Earlier this week, progressive Democrats were angered by reports that the Clean Energy Payment Program (CEPP) - which would pay or fine power utilities based on their ability to meet rising clean energy standards - has been struck from President Biden's Build Back Better legislation.

The CEPP was just one of many congressional proposals to cut emissions, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told reporters on Monday, with "the overwhelming majority of emissions reductions com[ing] from the energy tax overhaul" in the bill, and movement toward a carbon tax.

Other legislation would mandate some of the actions left out of the FSOC recommendations. A bill by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) would direct the Federal Reserve to organize climate stress tests to see how vulnerable banks are to climate change.

John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate Fight

  John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate Fight John Kerry Is Bringing America Back Into the Climate FightAs tourists on the other side of the patio snap photos of Mount Vesuvius looming in the background, Kerry is warning about the fate of human life on earth. Kerry, 77, has been on the public stage for decades as a Senator, presidential candidate and U.S. Secretary of State and, on paper, his latest role representing the U.S. as President Biden’s climate envoy may look like a demotion. But Kerry rejects any question about why he’s taken this role. The fate of civilization is on the line, and he will do anything he can to help. “I’ve fought around war and peace, and that was life and death.

And in the House, there is the Fossil Free Finance Act from Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), which would direct the Federal Reserve to call for all banks holding more than $50 billion to "align their financing of greenhouse gas emissions with science-based emissions targets."

But regulators don't need to wait for Congress, advocates say, arguing regulators have all the power they need right now. And by connecting climate change to financial risk - precisely the type that the Dodd-Frank Act set up the FSOC to head off - advocates say the report released this week has given its members the cover to act.

The risk of emissions to the financial system "is going to increase if we don't get power sector emissions under control, which adds to the urgency of using financial regulation to protect the system," Martin said.

The potential loss of the CEPP program makes such action particularly urgent, Martin said. "Without that program, there will be far more emissions from the power sector, worse climate change, greater economic impacts from physical damage - and also a more costly, disorderly transition."

COP26 report card: How the world's largest emitters are faring on climate goals .
As countries continue make and increase climate pledges are actions being taken to actually meet those goals? World leaders are converging in Glasgow, Scotland, for COP 26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, six years after creating the Paris Agreement that potentially set the stage for major action to mitigate global warming.

usr: 1
This is interesting!