A key mandate of the Federal Reserve is to assess and account for risks to the U.S. economy. We are calling on them to fulfill their mandate. It’s time to push the Federal Reserve to account for climate risk.
In concert with central bank climate coalitions in Europe and the UK, we are calling on the Federal Reserve (Fed) to end fossil fuel finance and finance the Just Transition/Green New Deal.
The Fossil Free Fed Coalition is pressuring the Federal Reserve through inside lobbying, pressure from Congress, and public advocacy to begin the work of orienting the economy away from fossil fuels and toward a better future.
We officially launched the campaign and had planned a large action in Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the Economic Policy Symposium, but when the conference switched to online at the last minute, we quickly pivoted to online actions, partnered with Protect Our Winters on a massive banner drop in the Teton mountains, and took action outside the Federal Reserve branch in Denver.
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and other progressive members of Congress joined the movement calling on President Biden to replace current Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, with someone who will take serious action on the climate crisis.
Later that month, Reps. Mondaire Jones, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley introduced the Fossil Free Finance Act which would require the Federal Reserve to hold big banks accountable for financing fossil fuels. We mobilized our supporters to send letters to their representatives urging them to cosponsor the bill.
Then, our movement delivered over 40,000 petition signatures encouraging President Biden to nominate a new Federal Reserve Chair who will prioritize the climate.
On October 29 (right before COP 26), our movement took action outside thirteen Federal Reserve branches across the country calling for change at the Fed and demanding that President Biden nominate a climate champion as Federal Reserve Chair.
These actions, led by 350 local groups, took place at Federal Reserve branches in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Dallas, and beyond.
In November, Senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley introduced the Senate version of the Fossil Free Finance Act which would effectively cut off the flow of funds from big banks to fossil fuel companies. We mobilized our supporters to send letters to their senators urging them to cosponsor the bill.
On November 22, we officially got word that President Biden renominated Jerome Powell as chair of the Federal Reserve. Biden’s decision to ignore the leading voices in economics, members of Congress, and — most importantly — tens of thousands of supporters who called on his administration to nominate a true climate leader is a blatant disregard for our mandate to shift the economy and keep warming below 1.5 degrees. Biden did heed climate advocates’ call for a climate champions at the Fed and nominated Lael Braniard as Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve. Lael Brainard has sounded the alarm on how financial institutions must take action on the climate crisis.
We mobilized immediately, sending letters to our senators urging them to vote NO on Powell’s confirmation. So far, three Democratic senators have committed to voting against Powell: Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Jeff Merkley of Oregon.
On Earth Day 2022, we mobilized to bring our message back to the Federal Reserve: we’re still watching, and we expect climate action from the Fed. We engaged with local groups and climate activists across the country, incorporating art, people in the streets, and climate solutions in practice. Actions included protesting at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC; and regional branches in Denver, CO; St. Louis, MO; Helena, MT; and more. Activists created art installations in the San Francisco Bay Area imagining our Earth in 2050, advocated for electric buses in Minnesota, marched (and danced!) across the state of Wisconsin to protest a pipeline, and demanded the Governors of Colorado and New Hampshire declare Climate Emergencies.
We’re celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Fossil Free Federal Reserve campaign by going back to the beginning – we’re showing up to the Fed’s annual Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson, WY! Last year our plans were disrupted when the Delta variant of COVID forced the conference to move online, but this year they’re meeting in-person again, and we’ll be there for every moment of the symposium. 350 Colorado and other activists from around the country will be converging on Jackson to call for strong climate guidance from the Fed to reduce the climate crisis’ impact on our economy, our lives, and our futures.