Jan 24, 2022 - Energy & Environment

The push to get banks to consider climate-related risk

An illustration of a gold coin with the world map on it

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The response to a preliminary move by federal banking officials shows how Wall Street regulation is an increasingly important front in climate policy battles.

Driving the news: Over 1,900 people and counting are urging the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to use the "full extent of its authority" to press large banks to consider climate-related risk and make good on emissions pledges.

  • Their comments come via a form letter organized by the activist group Public Citizen to the OCC's draft guidelines released in mid-December.

What's next: The comment period is open until mid-February, and public, corporate and advocacy group submissions typically arrive close to deadlines. So look for more efforts to shape the OCC plan.

  • The Sierra Club and other environmental groups are also organizing comment campaigns.

Why it matters: It's just one part of wider pressure on Biden administration regulators and the Federal Reserve to push Wall Street to get more active on global warming.

  • Part of the efforts are around greater risk analysis and disclosure, but activists also want regulators to impose policies that would more directly discourage investments in fossil fuels.
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