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BP, Major Wall Street Banks Want Carbon Pricing Policy In U.S.

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Supermajor BP, as well as many major Wall Street banks, recommends that the U.S. set a price on carbon in a report commissioned by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which recognizes that climate change could pose a risk to the financial markets.

The report from CFTC’s Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee – which includes, among others, executives from BP, ConocoPhillips, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Vanguard, Allianz Global Investors, and the Environmental Defense Fund – says that “Both physical and transition risks could give rise to systemic and sub-systemic financial shocks, potentially causing unprecedented disruption in the proper functioning of financial markets and institutions.”

“This report begins with a fundamental finding—financial markets will only be able to channel resources efficiently to activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions if an economy-wide price on carbon is in place at a level that reflects the true social cost of those emissions,” said the authors led by CFTC’s subcommittee chairman Bob Litterman.

The report was the first of its kind from a U.S. regulator, the CFTC, whose climate-related risk subcommittee recommends pricing carbon emissions.

Such action would need Congress to act. The report is non-binding, but it is the first time that a regulator on Wall Street says climate change could threaten the stability of the financial markets.

“Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy,” the report said.  

“The central message of this report is that U.S. financial regulators must recognize that climate change poses serious emerging risks to the U.S. financial system, and they should move urgently and decisively to measure, understand, and address these risks,” the authors said.

However, a major hurdle to addressing these risks remains the fact that the financial system lacks comparable and consistent data and analytical tools to measure and manage climate-related financial risks, according to the report.

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