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Waters on Climate Change as a Systemic Risk: We Have Witnessed How Climate Change Can Disrupt Our Financial System

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement at a Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions hybrid hearing entitled, “Addressing Climate as a Systemic Risk: The Need to Build Resilience within Our Banking and Financial Institutions.” 

Thank you, Chair Perlmutter. Over the past year, we have witnessed examples of how climate change can disrupt our financial system.

The financial toll, including insurance losses, from the most devastating wildfire season on record grew so sharply that our governor in California had to issue a moratorium to prevent insurers from denying insurance coverage to homeowners.

Meanwhile, the hundreds of bankruptcies in the oil and gas sector as a result of the economic fallout from COVID-19 has provided a preview of the type of pain our economy will likely face as climate change becomes worse.

I am pleased that President Biden, Treasury Secretary Yellen, and policymakers at the Fed and elsewhere have listened to those of us who have raised concerns about urgent financial stability risks of climate change, and that they are beginning to take action. So, I am looking forward to the hearing today, and I assure you, Chair Perlmutter, that we’re going to be hearing from Seattle and Portland. Portland was 116 [degrees] as of yesterday, and Seattle 104 as of Sunday.

I don’t know what financial disruption this is going to cause, but climate change is real.

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