This must be the year of climate action — we've wasted so many
This month, 41 years ago, those of us serving in the Carter administration were heading out the door, our work to address climate change begun but unfinished. In the ensuing four decades, the actions - and inaction - of our federal successors have proven to be increasingly tragic for our children's future. Now, today, we have a climate crisis. © Getty Images This must be the year of climate action — we've wasted so many We've learned from these decades that good science and comfortable advocacy are not enough to move the federal establishment off its pro-fossil fuel inertia.
Federal Reserve board member Lael Brainard sought to assure Republican senators Thursday that the central bank would not cut off financing to the fossil fuel industry or penalize banks who serve it if she becomes the bank's No. 2 official. © Associated Press/Susan Walsh Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances
During a confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Brainard insisted the Fed would not attempt to craft climate policy as it studies the potential financial risks of climate change despite intense GOP blowback to those plans.
"We would not tell banks which sectors to lend to or which sectors to not lend to, but we do want to make sure that they are measuring, monitoring and managing their material risks in many large financial institutions," Brainard said.
Gender equity, family planning missing from US city climate plans: report
American women and gender-diverse individuals are disproportionately affected by climate change, but municipal climate plans fail to address family planning or gender equity solutions, a new report has found. The report, released on Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity, scrutinized 21 climate plans in cities nationwide, whose total populations represent about 10 percent of the U.S.…The report, released on Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity, scrutinized 21 climate plans in cities nationwide, whose total populations represent about 10 percent of the U.S. population.
Brainard, a Democrat, was nominated by President Biden last month to serve as Fed vice chair after serving on the bank's board of governors since 2014. She is the sole Democrat on the Fed board and would serve beside Fed Chairman Jerome Powell - a Republican renominated by Biden - if he is also confirmed for another term by the Senate.
"With Governor Brainard as vice chair of the Fed, Americans will have someone who understands that workers - not corporations, not Wall Street - create economic growth. Her commitment to the success of all Americans from all walks of life and every region of the country is clear in all the work she's done throughout her distinguished career," said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
Biden's top climate adviser Gina McCarthy planning to leave
White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy is said to be eyeing her departure, left with little to do now that President Biden has tabled his ambitious climate agenda/The former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator has been telling those close to her that she is frustrated with the slow pace of climate progress and intends to step down in the coming months, according to the New York Times. Reuters and Washington Post also reported the news.
While Brainard may not need any GOP support to be confirmed in a Senate narrowly controlled by Democrats, Republican concerns about her approach to climate-related financial risks could impede her path to the vice chairmanship.
Brainard has supported the Fed's efforts to more closely study the ways that climate change and the global attempt to curb greenhouse gas emissions could affect the financial system. The Fed has set up several committees to analyze climate-related financial risks and is exploring ways to make sure the banks it supervises are prepared for those threats.
Both Brainard and Powell have ruled out penalizing banks for funding or financing fossil fuel projects - ideas strongly supported by environmental activists and progressives. Even so, Republicans have claimed the Fed will inevitably begin cracking down on oil and gas if it begins to analyze climate risks.
Biden picks Michael Barr, who helped Dodd-Frank, for top bank regulatory role
President Joe Biden has nominated Michael Barr, one of the designers of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that overhauled the financial regulatory system, to serve as the Federal Reserve’s top banking regulator. Barr previously served as assistant treasury secretary for financial institutions under former President Barack Obama and was one of the driving forces behind the regulatory changes following the financial crisis, including the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created to monitor credit cards, mortgages, and other financial products used by consumers that have since become a top target for Republ
"It's all about a precursor for using the regulatory power of the Fed to direct capital away from politically disfavored industry," said Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.), the ranking Republican on the Banking Committee.
Fed scrambled to make sense of Trump's 2016 election, transcripts show
Fed scrambled to make sense of Trump's 2016 election, transcripts showWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The election of Donald Trump threw Federal Reserve officials into a scramble to determine what it meant for the American economy, the world, and the U.S. central bank's own standing, according to transcripts of Fed meetings from 2016.
Video: Powell to Say Fed Will Keep Inflation From Taking Root (Bloomberg)
Toomey argued climate-related financial risks were "really not a threat, certainly not in the foreseeable future," and didn't warrant special attention from the Fed any more than the potential fallout of a trade war with China, a Russian invasion of Ukraine or new pandemic-related lockdowns.
Brainard said it is essential for the Fed and financial system to be mindful of "tail risks," or unlikely but potentially catastrophic threats, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic derailed the financial system. She added that incorporating climate-related risks into the Fed's supervision of major banks was far less sinister than Republicans feared.
"When we do supervise institutions to see that they are managing their material risks, it's pretty pedestrian stuff. It's, 'Do you have a risk management committee? Is that risk management committee well informed? Do you have the right data? Do you have the right models? Do you have the right controls?'" Brainard said.
Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board
President Biden on Friday announced the nominations of three top Federal Reserve officials, lining up a full slate for the Fed Board of Governors.Biden formally announced the nominations of former Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as Fed vice chair of supervision and of Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook and Davidson College professor Philip Jefferson to serve as Fed board members.If confirmed by theBiden formally announced the nominations of former Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to serve as Fed vice chair of supervision and of Michigan State University professor Lisa Cook and Davidson College professor Philip Jefferson to serve as Fed board members.
"It's really not specific in any way to particular borrowers or sectors," she continued. "I understand the concern that you're raising, but our supervisory guidance is very much around making sure those guardrails are there."
Brainard also faced questions from both parties about how the Fed would handle the highest annual inflation in more than 40 years. Consumer prices rose 7 percent in 2021 as a booming rebound from the coronavirus recession collided with persistent pandemic-related supply constraints.
Powell, Brainard, other Fed officials and many private sector economists expected inflation to cool off far earlier and settle far lower than the current annual rate. While monthly inflation rates have declined, Brainard acknowledged how difficult surging prices have been for many U.S. households.
"We are seeing the strongest rebound in growth and decline in unemployment of any recovery in the past five decades," Brainard said. "But inflation is too high and working people around the country are concerned about how far their paychecks will go. Our monetary policy is focused on getting inflation back down to 2 percent while sustaining a recovery that includes everyone. This is our most important task."
The Fed is poised to hike interest rates as soon as March and begin selling off bonds purchased to stimulate the financial system soon after, with inflation still well above target and the unemployment rate sinking to 3.9 percent in December.
Several Republican senators encouraged the Fed to act quickly to hike interest rates, which could cool off some of the intense demand driving prices higher amid the pandemic.
"We both recognize you can't do much about the supply side," said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), referring to the bottlenecks, hiring troubles and shortages putting pressure on inflation.
"How much of that inflation should you be looking at in terms of the demand side of the equation?"
Liberal Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), however, urged Brainard not to push the Fed toward slowing the economy to fight inflation and to instead allow the Biden administration to force companies to reduce prices through antitrust legal action and regulation.
"Today's price increases have many causes, and I hope that the Fed treads carefully in using its tools to help lower prices for American families," Warren said.
On the Money — SCOTUS strikes down Biden vax-or-test rules .
Happy Thursday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. Today's Big Deal: The Supreme Court just gutted President Biden's private sector vaccine mandate. We'll also look at progress toward an annual spending deal, Lael Brainard's confirmation hearing and a big victory for defrauded student debtors. But first, find out why theToday's Big Deal: The Supreme Court just gutted President Biden's private sector vaccine mandate. We'll also look at progress toward an annual spending deal, Lael Brainard's confirmation hearing and a big victory for defrauded student debtors.