The vast economic implications of climate change are explored here as we acknowledge  the interrelationships of economic and financial risk that are associated and often amplify one another --for example, weather-related property destruction can lead to bank losses, leading to less lending, leading to reduced investment, etc. We are watching, in these pages, the federal reserve closely as they monitor these connections – along with the actions of international organizations, governments, businesses as we search to develop an understanding of the implications of climate change for the financial sector and the financial stability of ourselves, our families, and our world.

We are also looking to gain information which can, in turn,  wield influence and encourage action by individuals, communities, financial organizations (such as pension funds), insurance companies, corporations and governments. Each member of the economy can influence change within their area of influence if they realize the extent of their power and wish to exercise it.

The section is organized in the following way:

CORONAVIRUS: As a result of the pandemic, global emission dropped in 2020 but the decline wasn’t nearly enough to halt the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This page also appears in the HEALTH section of the website.

COSTS: Extreme weather events cost U.S. taxpayers $99 billion in 2020 and things are only getting worse, and that is not taking into consideration the health impacts, and other side effects of climate change. Economic experts and climate insurers have warned that if climate change continues unmitigated, the world economy (particularly in developing countries) will lose growth opportunities in the trillions of dollars.

JOBS: Our future economic health will be heavily impacted by the jobs a clean energy future can deliver. It focuses on where the green jobs are growing.

INVESTMENTS AND DIVESTMENTS: As individual shareholders, we can take advantage of ESG (Energy, Sustainability, and Governance) investing and deliver our dollars to organizations, corporations and ideologies that are fighting against climate change. We can also divest from those organizations as can university, government and union pension funds.

INSURANCE: Insurance companies are in the business of predicting future loss, and so must ensure that they reserve for such events. What happens when history is no longer a reliable guide for predicting the future? Going forward, insurance companies may have a heavier hand in shaping human behavior. It’s unlikely that homebuyers would purchase (or be able to purchase) a house in uninsurable areas, for example.

HOUSING: Extreme weather has caused the burning and flooding of thousands of homes. It has destroyed power in both the 2019/20 Texas winter freeze and the 2021 summer hurricanes. It has disproportionately harmed the poor who have fewer resources to move. We have numerous mitigation and adaptation measures to explore.

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY: Eliminating waste and pollution, this is instead a closed-loop system emphasizing reuse, recycling, sharing, and repair. Ideally, waste and pollution are cut out of the equation in the design phase, and products and materials are kept in use. One of the tools in our tool box.

CARBON PRICING: Burning fossil fuels is by far the greatest source of the greenhouse gases causing climate change. However, the full cost of fossil fuel energy is not included in the price of the fuel. We pay for that later when we deal with the consequences of global warming. Using a car to illustrate this point, “We pay for the gas, we pay for the car, and we pay for the insurance, but we don’t pay for the pollution that comes out of the tail pipe.” This page explores different carbon pricing solutions and appears again in our POLITICS section.

Click on any circle to learn about one of the billion-dollar weather events, or any state to learn about billion-dollar droughts, between January 2000 and January 2022. Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.


Treasury Secretary Yellen warns that losses tied to climate change could ‘cascade through the financial system’

By Emma Newburger 03/07/23
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday warned that climate change is already taking a significant economic toll and could cause extensive losses to the U.S. financial system in the coming years.
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PG&E delivers bill shocks to customers amid soaring natural gas prices

By George Avalos 02/27/23
Soaring prices for natural gas and this winter’s icy blasts have jolted unsuspecting PG&E customers with brutal — and fast-rising — monthly utility bills.
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Biden to nominate Ajay Banga to lead World Bank

By Hans Nichols 02/23/23
President Biden will nominate Ajay Banga, former president and CEO of Mastercard, to serve as president of the World Bank, the White House announced today.
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Where U.S. house prices may be most overvalued as climate change worsens

By Brady Dennis 02/16/23
The nation’s real estate market has yet to fully account for the increasing threats to millions of homes from rising seas, stronger storms and torrential downpours, according to new research published Thursday.
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Chairman Whitehouse Statement on CBO Outlook

Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, issued a statement following the annual release of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) Budget and Economic Outlook and a projection that the debt limit must…
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World Bank president, dogged by climate questions, will step down early

By David Gelles 02/15/23
David Malpass, under fire for months by critics who accused him of climate denialism, said he would resign in June, a year before his term ends....
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Electric vehicle sales top $1 trillion in wake-up call for carmakers

By Colin McKerracher 02/14/23
Global spending on electric vehicles is surging. According a new report published by BloombergNEF on investment in the energy transition, annual spending on passenger EVs hit $388 billion in 2022, up 53% from the year…
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Biden earmarks billions for rooftop solar under climate law

By Jennifer A Dlouhy 02/14/23
In the government’s initial moves to allocate the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, it gave home and community solar a boost but dodged a decision on creating a national green bank.
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A Huge, Uncharted Experiment on the U.S. Economy Is About to Begin

By Robinson Meyer 02/12/23
If you want to understand the immense windfall the Biden administration is about to bestow on green industries, take a look at hydrogen. Engineers still aren’t exactly sure what role the gas will play in…
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Electric vehicles could match gasoline cars on price this year

By Jack Ewing 02/10/23
Competition, government incentives and falling raw material prices are making battery-powered cars more affordable sooner than expected.
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Five powerhouse, economically friendly policies that can slash emissions

By Sarah Spengeman 02/07/23
Minnesota just passed a 100% clean electricity bill with one of the country’s fastest timelines to make the switch—by 2040. With its rich wind resources, a surprising amount of solar, and a strong clean energy…
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Big Oil is making billions, but don’t expect lower gas prices

By Kyra Buckley 02/03/23
Exxon Mobil: $55.7 billion. Shell: $42.3 billion. Chevron: $35.5 billion. ConocoPhillips: $18.7 billion. As expected, oil companies are reporting blockbuster profits for 2022. But directing those profits in a way that shields consumers from chaotic…
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Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

Summary of U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate related disaster research, methodology, and data sources.

Track public money for energy in recovery packages

As governments across the world continue to invest hundreds of billions in the energy system to reboot their economies, our analysis is expanding to cover more countries and provide a more comprehensive global picture. Countries…

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures

Financial markets need clear, comprehensive, high-quality information on the impacts of climate change. This includes the risks and opportunities presented by rising temperatures, climate-related policy, and emerging technologies in our changing world.

Origin of the Network for Greening the Financial System

At the Paris “One Planet Summit” in December 2017, eight central banks and supervisors established the Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS). Since then, the membership of the Network…

Tracking climate mitigation efforts in 30 major emitters

This report by NewClimate Institute, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and FTSE Russell tracks climate mitigation efforts in 30 countries and regions. Our analysis shows that emissions trends remain far from the goals…

Gauging Economic Consensus on Climate Change – Issue Brief

We conducted a large-sample global survey on climate economics, which we sent to all economists who have published climate-related research in the field’s highest-ranked academic journals; 738 responded. To our knowledge, this is the largest-ever…

Climate Roadmap for U.S. Financial Regulation

The Biden Administration has taken office with an urgent climate mandate to act on climate and announced a “whole-of-government” approach in response.1 Because climate change threatens our financial system and, indeed, entire economy, the United…

Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: A call to action for U.S. financial regulators

This Ceres report outlines how and why U.S. financial regulators, who are responsible for protecting the stability and competitiveness of the U.S. economy, need to recognize and act on climate change as a systemic risk.

Moving To A Finite Earth Economy – Crew Manual

Moving To A Finite Earth Economy By 2030 Addresses Two Critical Human Issues: The Existential Threat Of Climate Change, And The Fact That Growth Economies Are The Root Cause.

Resources as a Constraint on Growth By William D. Nordhaus

Things which have traditionally been treated as free goods-air, water, quiet, natural beauty-must now be treated with the same care as other scarce goods.


Stuck in the Past on the Climate

By Bill McKibben   04/24/20  
If you want to know why young people increasingly despair that the rest of us will leave them without a habitable world, consider the case of Lee Raymond.
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The Covid-19 crisis creates a chance to reset economies on a sustainable footing | James Shaw

By James Shaw   04/23/20  
New Zealand climate minister says governments must not just return to the way things were, and instead plot a new course to ease climate change James Shaw, New Zealand’s climate change minister, has asked the…
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The Role of Finance in Achieving Sustainability

By Kelsie DeFrancia   04/17/20  
Last month, the Earth Institute celebrated the publication of a new book and heard from panelists on the role of harnessing financial acumen to achieve long-run sustainability. ...
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A just and sustainable economic response to coronavirus, explained

By David Roberts   03/25/20  
After days of tense negotiations — and Democrats twice blocking the nearly $2 trillion package — the Senate and Treasury Department appear to have reached important compromises on legislation to shore up the economy. |…
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A Moderate Proposal: Nationalize the Fossil Fuel Industry

By Kate Aronoff   03/17/20  
We’re facing a shale crash, a likely recession, and a surefire climate crisis. One particular policy could help solve all three problems.
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Reinventing Capitalism

By Bob Leonard   02/13/20  
Mankind is faced with a profound dilemma. To resist growth is to risk economic collapse. To continue to pursue growth relentlessly ensures collapse of our ecosystem which supports all life. For the most part, this…
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The next president can force the financial sector to take climate change seriously

Obama, Dodd, and Frank. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images With the help of Dodd-Frank, the president won’t need Congress. A growing chorus of voices is warning that the financial system — big banks, insurers, and other…
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By John Cassidy   02/03/20  
In 1930, the English economist John Maynard Keynes took a break from writing about the problems of the interwar economy and indulged in a bit of futurology. In an essay entitled “Economic Possibilities for Our…
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Climate Change Could Blow Up the Economy. Banks Aren’t Ready

By Jack Ewing   01/23/20  
Climate change has already been blamed for deadly bush fires in Australia, withering coral reefs, rising sea levels and ever more cataclysmic storms. Could it also cause the next financial crisis?
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Mnuchin said Thunberg needed to study economics before offering climate proposals. So we talked to an economist.

By Philip Bump   01/23/20  
The Washington Post contacted someone who did study economics in college and asked him to explain it to us.
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Economic heavyweights highlight climate risks

Economic heavyweights highlight climate risks By Jonathan Marshall, CCL Economics Policy Network Whatever you think of billionaires, it’s almost always better to have them on your side rather than as foes. That’s why news from…
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Warren calls on big U.S. banks for steps on climate risk

By Ann Saphir and Lindsay Dunsmuir   01/22/20  
SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, is asking the biggest U.S. banks for details on their assessments of and preparations for risks related to global…
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Climate change and economic inequality loom large as the powerful descend on Davos

By Catherine Thorbecke   01/21/20  
The world's political and economic elite are descending on the small Swiss Alps town of Davos this week for the annual World Economic Forum meeting where they hope to set this year's "global, regional and…
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Conservative States Seek Billions to Brace for Disaster. (Just Don’t Call It Climate Change.)

By Christopher Flavelle   01/20/20  
The Trump administration is about to distribute billions of dollars to coastal states mainly in the South to help steel them against natural disasters worsened by climate change.
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‘How can he face himself?’: Architect of Paris Agreement slams Trump’s approach to climate crisis

By Sam Meredith   01/20/20  
The architect of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement told CNBC on Monday that it cannot be easy for President Donald Trump to justify his approach to the climate crisis — both to himself and citizens…
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Yearwood and McKibben: Want to do something about climate change? Follow the money

Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Bank of America are the worst offenders....
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Here’s What Putting $10,000 in These Assets Would Have Returned in 2019

By Gregor Stuart Hunter and Eric Lam   12/29/19  
In 2018, seemingly every asset class was a loser. In 2019 it’s been the reverse, with opportunities abounding -- and some of the biggest winners have come from unexpected corners of the market.
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Why Climate Change Matters for Monetary Policy and Financial Stability

By Lael Brainard   11/08/19  
By participating more actively in climate-related research and practice, the Federal Reserve can be more effective in supporting a strong economy and a stable financial system.
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Economists Are Downplaying Many Major Climate Risks, Says Report

Researchers warn that world leaders are being misled by economic assessments of future climate-change impacts. ...
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Only one-fifth of climate finance going to adaptation, finds OECD

By Chloé Farand   09/13/19  
Donors overwhelmingly favour supporting projects that cut emissions rather than cope with the impacts of climate change, despite calls for parity
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It’s now cheaper to build new renewables than it is to build natural gas plants

By Adele Peters   09/11/19  
People could save $29 billion on their electric bills if utilities built new clean energy instead of new natural gas plants.
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Social Cost of Carbon 101

By Kevin Rennert and Cora Kingdon   08/01/19  
The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an estimate, in dollars, of the economic damages that would result from emitting one additional ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The SCC puts the effects of…
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Could Climate Change Spark a Financial Crisis? Candidates Warn Fed It’s a Risk

By John Lippert   07/15/19  
Some of the Democrats running for president are urging the U.S. central bank to actively confront climate risks to protect the nation's financial system.
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Editorial: Measuring the costs of preparing for rising seas

A new report estimates the costs of seawalls. They’re not a good fit for Puget Sound, but what is?
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Why Climate Change Hurts the Poor the Most

By Mallika KhannaIf you've read anything about climate change over the past year, you've probably heard about the IPCC report that gives a 12-year deadline for limiting climate change catastrophe. But for many parts of…
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Bitcoin’s energy consumption ‘equals that of Switzerland’

By Chris Baraniuk   07/03/19  
A new tool makes it easier to see how the crypto-currency network's energy usage compares with other entities.
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Energy efficiency can be a tool for economic development

A growing number of home and business owners want to increase energy efficiency. To do so, many will need to hire local contractors who are trained to perform home energy audits and retrofit buildings.
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Companies See Climate Change Hitting Their Bottom Lines in the Next 5 Years

By Brad Plumer   06/04/19  
Many of the world’s biggest companies, from Silicon Valley tech firms to large European banks, are bracing for the prospect that climate change could substantially affect their bottom lines within the next five years, according…
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Hotels and resorts face real estate risk of climate change

On the front lines of rising seas and extreme weather, the hospitality and tourism industry recalculates real estate and insurance risks.
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Putting a Price on the Risk of Climate Change

By Matthew Carr   05/29/19  
Efforts to slow global warming threaten to turn energy investments into “stranded assets.”  
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Climate Adaptation, but Only for the Rich

By Peter Sinclair   03/21/19  
In November, as wildfires ripped through California, Kim Kardashian hired a squad of private firefighters to protect her $50m estate in Calabasas. During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Blackwater security guards defended the houses…
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Climate Challenge Will Be Harder Than It Seems, JPMorgan Executive Warns

By Christopher Flavelle   03/20/19  
The world isn’t cutting carbon emissions anywhere near quickly enough, a senior executive at J.P. Morgan Asset Management told clients this week -- and changing that will require far harder choices than most people realize.
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The False Choice Between Economic Growth and Combatting Climate Change

By Carolyn Kormann   02/04/19  
In 1974, the economist William Nordhaus described the transition from a “cowboy economy” to a “spaceship economy.” In the former, he wrote, “we could afford to use our resources profligately,” and “the environment could be…
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The Economics of Climate Change Explained

By Brayden Gerrard   01/21/19  
Climate change is well known for its destructive impacts — ranging from rising sea levels to more fierce natural disasters.
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Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends

Global climate change is a serious problem calling for immediate national action. Guided by sound economic principles, we are united in the following policy recommendations.
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Bitcoin Will Burn the Planet Down. The Question: How Fast?

By Adam Rogers   11/05/18  
Max Krause was thinking of buying some bitcoin, as one does. But Krause is an engineer—mostly he works on modeling greenhouse gas emissions from landfills—so his first step was to run the numbers.
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Pension Funds Point Finger at Lobbyists of Polluting Companies

By Anna Hirtenstein   10/28/18  
A group of pension funds that control $2 trillion are pushing for 55 large European energy, mining and transportation companies to scale back their anti-climate lobbying.
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Where climate change will hit the U.S. hardest

By Eileen Drage O'Reilly and Alison Snyder   06/23/18  
Left unmitigated, rising temperatures from climate change will increase inequality and mortality rates in the U.S. by the end of the 21st century, a team of economists and climate scientists warn in astudy published today. It's…
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Climate action could boost the economy by $26 trillion

Concerted efforts to stop climate change by 2030 would also create 65 million new jobs and–this part is important–stop 700,000 premature deaths. ...
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Mnuchin says Greta Thunberg can tell us what to do ‘after she goes and studies economics in college’

By Sam Meredith   01/23/20  
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sharply criticized the financial credentials of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunbergon Thursday, saying the 17-year-old should study economics at college before lecturing the U.S. on fossil fuel investments.
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Extreme weather resilience leaves execs in the clear

CFOs bear increasing responsibility for building resilience to natural disasters
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The False Choice Between Economic Growth and Combatting Climate Change

By Carolyn Kormann   02/04/19  
In 1974, the economist William Nordhaus described the transition from a “cowboy economy” to a “spaceship economy.” In the former, he wrote, “we could afford to use our resources profligately,” and “the environment could be…
Read more