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Biden signs order directing government to limit economic risks of climate change

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Biden signs order directing government to limit economic risks of climate change
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order directing the federal government to develop a strategy to prevent climate-related risks to the U.S. economy and related assets. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday directing the federal government to develop a strategy limiting risks related to climate change on the United States' public and private financial assets.

The order directs National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese to develop a government-wide plan to identify and disclose climate-related financial risk to government programs, assets and liabilities in the next 120 days.

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It also requires Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as head of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to deliver a report on climate-related risk to the stability of the federal government and the U.S. financial system with 180 days.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh is ordered to consider suspending, revising or rescinding Trump administration policies that may prevent investment firms from considering environmental, social and governance factors including climate risks in investment decisions related to workers' pensions.

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The White House acknowledged in a fact sheet released alongside the order that rising seas and extreme weather associated with the climate crisis can present risks to infrastructure, investments and businesses, but said the risks "are often hidden."

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"The agency actions spurred by the president's directive today will help safeguard the financial security of America's families, businesses and workers from the climate-related financial risks they are already facing," the White House said.

Last month in opening remarks at the Leaders Summit on Climate, Biden pledged to cut U.S. emissions in half compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions goals by 2050.

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He also rejoined the Paris Agreement soon after taking office, renewing goals to reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035, reduce pollution from the transportation sector, cut emissions from forests and agriculture, enhance carbon sinks and reduce non-carbon greenhouse gases like methane, hydrofluorocarbons and other pollutants.

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