White House unveils climate finance road map, highlights lending and budget pledges

by Reuters
Friday, 15 October 2021 09:00 GMT

People watch the flooded Schuylkill River banks, which raised to record heights, during Ida's aftermath in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Bastiaan Slabbers

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The U.S government outlines a strategy to better incorporate climate threats into federal lending programs and budgeting processes

WASHINGTON, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The White House published a report on Friday outlining projects to measure and address the risks that climate change poses to Americans and the economy, including programs to better incorporate climate threats into federal lending programs and budgeting processes.

Many of the projects laid out in the report are not new, including mandatory disclosure rules under consideration by the Securities and Exchange Commission to bring more clarity to investors about climate change-related investment risk.

But the report highlights government-wide efforts to address the issues at a key moment, weeks before President Joe Biden participates in the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

"We have more work to do, but this is a critical first step in our efforts to address the systemic threat that climate change poses to our economy, our workers and our families as well as our retirees," White House domestic climate change adviser Gina McCarthy said on a call with reporters previewing the report.

The report pledges that the White House will include an assessment of the federal government's climate risk exposure in its annual budget and notes that government agencies will improve federal underwriting and lending program standards to better address the climate-related financial risks to their loan portfolios.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also working to identify options to incorporate climate-related considerations into mortgages, the White House said.

The report responds to an executive order Biden issued in May requiring development of a government-wide climate-risk strategy within 120 days, as well as an annual assessment of climate-related fiscal risks as part of the U.S. budget.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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