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An Extinction Rebellion activist stands on top of the Wall Street Bull during an Oct. 7 protest. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Big Oil often takes center stage, but big finance is having its climate moment this year, between the 2020 presidential elections and events at Davos.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of how Wall Street is increasingly at the center for climate advocacy in at least two ways — and how White House hopefuls are part of those efforts.

  • Beyond pressing banks to assess climate risks, which large swaths of the sector are doing on a voluntary basis, a more confrontational set of campaigns is pushing banks to abandon fossil fuel finance.

Driving the news: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is pressing eight banking giants on what they're doing to assess climate risks to their investments and the financial system.

  • Her new letters to the banks, which Reuters covered here, point to how a Warren presidency would push the financial sector.
  • Her Senate office rollout of the letters touts proposals to force public companies to make detailed disclosures about climate risks to their businesses.
  • Warren also backs legislation to require the Federal Reserve to add climate to "stress tests" for the financial sector.

Threat level: Climate activists could have White House allies, depending on how the election shakes out.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders' climate platform backs the divestment movement, promising rules to push it forward and overall vowing, "we will support these movements in the White House."
  • Warren's plan also vows to "hold the financial industry accountable for its role in the climate crisis."

But, but, but: Reporting from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, highlights banks' pushback against wholesale divestment and work with fossil fuel industries, even as some banks are abandoning finance for projects like coal mines and Arctic oil. Here's the Financial Times...

"The leaders of some big banks and other financial companies have rejected suggestions that they are not doing enough to combat climate change and resisted calls that they should refuse to work with clients that are major polluters."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

8 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

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