Randal K. Quarles, the Fed’s vice chairman for banking supervision and regulation, was asked about the criticism in front of the House of Representatives on Wednesday. Mr. Quarles defended the Fed’s attention to climate change as part of regulation, calling it a “potential risk” that financial firms and the governments that oversee it must consider.
“As a regulator, we should look at this risk,” he said, “and develop an analytical framework so that we don’t respond to political pressure, don’t respond to headlines, but develop careful data.” driven framework. “
The upheaval in the new order reflects the many ways that climate change can threaten the economy. There is evidence that it is already happening.
In Florida, demand for homes in high risk coastal areas is gradually lagging behind the rest of the state, with prices following. Banks nationwide are removing more of these coastal mortgages from their books by selling them to federally protected mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – a sign that these banks are aware of the growing risk of default and are shifting that risk onto taxpayers.
The insurance market is also feeling the effects of more severe disasters. In California, insurers are refusing to cover homes in fire-prone areas and are urging state and local officials to seek solutions. Other states in the west are seeing signs of similar trends.
In response to these threats, the new ordinance instructs federal agencies that monitor mortgage loans to find ways to address the effects of climate change on those loans. In addition, the Federal Insurance Office, a department of the Ministry of Finance, is instructed to assess the climate-related threats to insurers.
The ordinance also reintroduces a rule requiring higher standards for federally funded construction of roads, buildings, and other projects in floodplain areas – a rule created by President Barack Obama and then repealed by President Donald J. Trump.
“Americans should be able to understand the real risks that extreme weather and rising seas pose to the homes they have invested in,” said Gina McCarthy, Biden’s senior advisor on climate change. “Knowing the risks is the first step in actually addressing them.”
Jeanna Smialek and Alan Rappeport contributed to the coverage.