A coalition of progressive groups on Thursday urged President Joe Biden to appoint “a real climate leader” to head the Federal Reserve.
“You can’t consider Fed leadership without asking how it’s doing on the biggest risk to the financial system—the climate crisis,” David Arkush, Climate Program director at Public Citizen, said in a statement.
“We demand bold policies that shift power away from fossil fuel billionaires toward our communities, and call on President Biden to nominate a real climate leader who will re-imagine the role of the Fed in climate recovery.”
—Tracey Lewis, 350.orgThe Federal Reserve is currently chaired by Jerome Powell, a Republican who was appointed to the board in 2012 by former President Barack Obama and appointed chair by former President Donald Trump.
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As Politico noted Tuesday, there’s been swelling pressure from the left for Biden not to reappoint Powell for the position. Powell’s term ends in February 2022, though Biden is expected to announce a decision as early as late summer about who he’s picking to be in that role after February.
“The Fed appointment,” Politico reported, “will be the most consequential personnel decision left for Biden in his first term.” The outlet continued:
Powell is not without supporters on left. Economist Dean Baker, for example, wrote Wednesday that Powell “brought about a remarkable shift in Fed policy,” and welcomed his view of running “the economy in a way that as many people as possible can have job.”
The groups behind the new call, however—including 350.org, Climate Hawks Vote, Oil Change International, Public Citizen, Rainforest Action Network, Revolving Door Project, and Sierra Club—say Powell’s failure to act sufficiently on the addressing the climate crisis merits his removal.
In their statement, the groups cite as evidence the D- grade the Fed received in the “Green Central Bank Scorecard” released (pdf) in March by U.K.-based group Positive Money.
A supplement (pdf) to that scorecard, authored by Yevgeny Shrago, policy counsel in Public Citizen’s Climate Program, accuses the Fed of having “used the magnitude of the [climate crisis] as a call to gather facts and wait for development of better modeling of climate financial risk instead of deploying its authorities to address the issue and learn by doing.”
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