White House lays out strategy to protect U.S. economy from ‘climate’ risks

The Biden administration is moving forward with a plan to protect the U.S. economy from risks associated with a transition away from carbon-based fuels, reports noted on Friday.

The strategy, called “Roadmap to Build a Climate-Resilient Economy,” envisions climate-related economic risks falling into two main categories: The physical risks from weather events as well as what the administration has deemed “transitional risk” as the White House attempts to move the country away from an economy powered by fossil fuels.

“The report outlines a range of pending and future actions meant to shield both the broader financial system and American households from climate-related risks,” The Hill reported. “The administration highlighted the housing market, insurance, and retirement funds as areas where Americans could personally feel the costs of climate change.”

The plan empowers federal financial regulators and internal agency budget offices to devise processes for measuring challenges that climate change may pose and what society’s response to them should be. In addition, federal agencies will be tasked with estimating how climate change will affect their day-to-day operations as well as the services provided to American citizens.

A sizeable portion of the strategy listed actions that are already taking place at some federal agencies or have been announced by agency chiefs, “including the Securities and Exchange Commission’s pending climate disclosure requirements and the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s soon-to-be-released report on climate risks to the financial system,” The Hill added.

In addition, the Departments of Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and Housing and Urban Development are being asked to review home-loan programs to assess climate-related pitfalls and vulnerabilities that millions of Americans with loans backed by the government allegedly face.

Also, the administration’s strategy outline noted a pending Department of Labor rule detailing how investment managers can view social, governance, and environmental issues for clients, as well as risks that the department’s Thrift Savings Plan, which involves 6.5 million people, may face.

The plan is a “critical first step” in addressing the alleged “systemic” threat of climate change, National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy said.

It’s unclear what effect the strategy will have on states, but many of them have already filed lawsuits against the administration claiming unconstitutional regulatory overreach.

In a suit filed by 12 state attorneys general in March, plaintiffs allege that the rules are harmful to their economies in response to a Jan. 20 executive order from President Biden declaring that there are “social costs” associated with continued greenhouse gas emissions.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of Missouri, the lawsuit argues that assigning those costs is a “quintessentially legislative action” that falls within the purview of the Legislative Branch, not the Executive Branch.

“The Biden Administration’s calculation of ‘social costs’ would justify imposing trillions of dollars in regulatory costs on the American economy every year to offset these supposed costs,” says the suit.

The plaintiffs allege that the order empowers federal regulatory agencies to put restrictive rules on nearly all aspects of Americans’ lives to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Such regulations could potentially apply to automobiles, homes, appliances, food and electric bills.

“Manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production are essential to Missouri’s economy and employ thousands of hard-working Missourians across the state,” Missouri Attorney General Schmitt, who is leading the coalition, said in a statement.

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