Civil society groups from 32 organisations have sent an open letter to US President Joe Biden asking him to replace Jerome Powell as US Federal Reserve Chair due to his weak leadership on addressing climate change and its effects on US financial stability. The Fed has consistently lagged behind its international counterparts in tackling climate risk, the letter says, calling on the US central bank to take immediate steps on climate-related financial disclosures, supervisory guidance, scenario analysis and stress tests.
Pointing to the Biden Administration’s ambitious climate change, racial equity, and economic justice agenda, the civil society groups say that all of these vital goals are jeopardised by the Fed’s failure to address climate risks faced by banks and the broader financial system. Signatories to the letter include the Sierra Club, 350.org, Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform, Climate Finance Action, Climate Law & Policy Project and Oil Change International.
“The Fed’s lack of robust action means that regulators, depositors, investors, and other market participants have little visibility into the massive climate-fueled economic impacts that will worsen for the next 30 years,” the letter reads. “The Fed must fulfill its mandate by safeguarding the financial system. Failing to do so will threaten the economic security of households and communities across the nation, and it will undermine US climate and economic and racial justice agendas.”
In a separate but related development, climate campaigning groups 350.org and Public Citizen delivered a petition with over 40,000 signatures to the White House demanding that President Biden nominate a Chair of the Federal Reserve who will be a climate leader. “The Federal Reserve must act on its key role in tackling the climate crisis,” says the petition text. “It’s up to ordinary people like us to make sure our central bank serves its purpose, and that starts with replacing Jerome Powell as the Fed’s Chair with a true climate champion.” Along with the petition, the groups have called on US citizens to contact their Senators to demand that Powell be replaced.
The open letter, petition and senatorial campaign are the latest among a growing number of calls for President Biden to nominate a more climate-aware Fed Chair. Powell’s term ends next February and Biden is expected to make a decision on whether or not to renominate Powell in the coming weeks.
This page was last updated September 21, 2021
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