President Biden has ordered government agencies to prepare for climate-related shocks across the economy, as escalating disasters threaten home prices, the value of retirements funds and even the stability of the global financial system.
The executive order is the latest indication of how climate change, once dismissed as a distant threat, is already complicating life for Americans. It follows a report from the Environmental Protection Agency that showed global warming is now being felt in the United States in the form of more heat waves, wildfires, floods and other disasters.
The order directs officials to report the risk that climate change poses to federal assets and tax revenue. It tells the Labor Department to find ways to protect pensions. And it says the government should consider requiring the companies with which it does business to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our modern financial system was built on the assumption that the climate was stable,” said Brian Deese, head of President Biden’s National Economic Council. “It’s clear that we no longer live in such a world.”