“Climate change,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the Joint Economic Committee last November, “is an important issue but not principally for the Fed. We’re not going to be the ones to decide society’s response. That is for elected officials, not us.” As of yesterday, however, it’s clearer than ever that the Federal Reserve is very much in the business of deciding how society navigates a warming world. On Thursday, the Fed announced several expansions of its $600 billion Main Street Lending Program intended to help the country respond to the economic fallout of the coronavirus and ensuing shutdowns. The new changes will come as welcome news to fossil fuel companies previously unable to take advantage of stimulus funds allocated by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as a result of several now-nixed restrictions. Several of these new changes closely mirror requests the oil and gas industry made over the last several weeks.
By Kate Aronoff. The New Republic. May 1, 2020.