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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Biden orders regulators to evaluate, mitigate climate-related financial risks

Federal Issues Biden Department of Treasury FSOC Climate-Related Financial Risks

Federal Issues

On May 20, President Biden ordered financial regulators to take steps to mitigate climate-related risk related to the financial system. The executive order, among other things, directs the Secretary of the Treasury to work with Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) members to consider “assessing, in a detailed and comprehensive manner, the climate-related financial risk . . . to the financial stability of the federal government and the stability of the U.S. financial system,” and to facilitate climate-related risk information sharing between FSOC member agencies and other federal departments and agencies. Under the executive order, Treasury is also required to issue a report to the president within 180 days on current efforts taken by FSOC members to incorporate climate-related financial risk into their policies and programs. The executive order directs the report to include recommendations on (i) “actions to enhance climate-related disclosures by regulated entities to mitigate climate-related financial risk”; (ii) current approaches for incorporating climate-related financial risk considerations into regulatory and supervisory activities, as well as a discussion of any impediments faced when adopting these approaches; (iii) processes for identifying climate-related financial risks; and (iv) how “identified climate-related financial risks can be mitigated, including through new or revised regulatory standards as appropriate.” The executive order also states, among other things, that federal financial management and reporting should be modernized to incorporate climate-related financial risk, especially risk related to federal lending programs.