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The central bank, clarifying that no regulatory implications are linked to the pilot program, said that the exercise will use scenario analysis to “assess climate-related financial risks.” Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo will participate in the initiative.
“The pilot exercise will be launched in early 2023 and is expected to conclude around the end of the year. At the beginning of the exercise, the Board will publish details of the climate, economic, and financial variables that make up the climate scenario narratives,” a statement from the Federal Reserve explained. “Over the course of the pilot, participating firms will analyze the impact of the scenarios on specific portfolios and business strategies. The Board will then review firm analysis and engage with those firms to build capacity to manage climate-related financial risks.”
Other nations’ central banks, including the Bank of England, have formerly conducted similar exercises meant to help executives navigate a transition to an economy with net zero emissions. The Federal Reserve already runs stress tests that determine whether the financial sector is able to weather economic crises.
“The Board’s stress tests are designed to assess whether large banks have enough capital to continue lending to households and businesses during a severe recession,” the statement continued. “The climate scenario analysis exercise, on the other hand, is exploratory in nature and does not have capital consequences.”
The executive branch, from which the Federal Reserve is separate, is pursuing a “whole-of-government approach to put climate change at the center of our domestic, national security, and foreign policy,” according to a speech delivered by President Joe Biden days after his inauguration. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an entity in the Treasury Department charged with regulating and supervising banks, recently tapped New York State Department of Financial Services climate czar Yue Chen as its new chief climate risk officer.
In a recent speech at the Brookings Institution, Federal Reserve Board of Governors member and Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr noted that monetary policymakers will begin working with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to “provide guidance to large banks on how we expect them to identify, measure, monitor, and manage the financial risks of climate change.”
“As our nation, and the world, grapple with how to respond to climate change, banks are increasingly focused on the risks that climate change brings to their balance sheets,” Barr remarked. “The Federal Reserve is working to understand how climate change may pose risks to individual banks and to the financial system. The Federal Reserve’s mandate in this area is important, but narrow, focused on our supervisory responsibilities and our role in promoting a safe and stable financial system.”
The pivot toward weighing climate change in fiscal and monetary policy has drawn criticism for further embedding the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement into corporate America. Companies that subscribe to the movement often hire with respect to racial or gender identity while deprioritizing merit, pushing green energy standards over conventional fossil fuel usage, or otherwise blend profits with left-wing social politics.
Despite efforts from many Western governments and corporations to decrease reliance on carbon, China has rapidly increased its use of fossil fuels — increasing emissions by 11% over the past seven years, even as the United States cut emissions by 6%.