Biden’s Executive Action Is A Critical Step To Address The Risk Of Climate Change Driven Financial Collapse

Following President Biden’s executive order on climate finance, Evergreen Action Executive Director Jamal Raad released the following statement:

“This is a groundbreaking executive order—for the first time ever, an American president is taking bold action to address the risks that climate change poses to our financial system, our lives, and our livelihoods. 

“Wall Street has bet big on fossil fuels and it’s putting Americans at risk. If financial institutions continue with business as usual, a climate-fueled crash would harm every sector of our economy and wreak havoc on the lives of Americans. On top of that, Wall Street continues to make the climate crisis even worse by refusing to stop financing pollution. 

“Today’s order begins the work of building a better financial system. It is a starting gun from the White House to Treasury, the SEC, and others to get moving on America’s work to not just monitor and disclose the risks that climate change poses to our financial well-being, but actually mitigate those risks. The forthcoming agency actions––including the Financial Stability Oversight Council report led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen––should make clear both how to protect the financial system against climate risk, and also how to prevent the financial system from continuing to increase the magnitude of the climate crisis. The Biden administration must use every tool at its disposal to build a financial system that is better for working people and more resilient to the threat of climate disruption—and we look forward to further action after today’s historic step.” 

Several elements of today’s executive order align with recommendations made last year by Evergreen in our report, Preventing a Climate Crash, and as part of our Five to Mobilize series. New polling released today from Evergreen and Data for Progress echoes that Americans want regulators to act to safeguard our economy from a climate-induced economic crash. Below are some key findings:

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  • Two-thirds of voters (66 percent) think Wall Street has a responsibility to address climate change
  • Nearly two-thirds of voters (64 percent) think banks, insurers, and other financial institutions have a responsibility to address climate change
  • A majority of voters (61 percent) think the federal government should enforce more safeguards on banks to prevent a future financial crisis driven by climate chang
  • Nearly three-quarters of voters (74 percent) agree that banks should increase transparency about their climate risks
  • A plurality of all likely voters (50 percent) agree that federal regulators should rein in the risky behavior of big banks that is driving climate change — even when presented with negative messaging against this proposal