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Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers the Fed is working to prepare financial institutions for severe weather events, even though climate is more broadly something "entrusted to other agencies."

Why it matters: Powell's April 18 letter, made public yesterday, provides a closer look than his previous public comments at how the Fed views the financial risks of extreme weather events that global warming is making more intense.

  • Powell notes that severe weather can not only "devastate" local economies, including banks, but also "temporarily affect national economic output and employment."
  • His letter explains how the Fed's risk framework for monitoring financial system stability sees episodes of extreme weather as potential shocks that can have ripple effects beyond straining insurance companies.

But, but, but: The letter is more moderate than a recent report by officials at the San Francisco Fed, and the calls to action of major central banks.

Our thought bubble: Via Axios' Dion Rabouin, Powell has been the perhaps the most political Fed chair ever. He's taken the view that the Fed is fighting for its survival. A big part of that fight is avoiding public confrontation with President Trump, who has staunchly opposed action on climate change, whenever possible.

What they're saying: Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, who led a January inquiry to the Fed, the FDIC and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with 19 colleagues, attacked the agencies' responses via Twitter, calling them "garbage."

  • "[A]ccording to the Fed, severe weather isn't new and climate change isn't their responsibility," he said. "The American agencies that oversee the financial system have decided to ignore climate change."

Go deeper: The Fed outlines potential economic fallout from global warming

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
5 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.