A Regulatory Green Light: How Dodd-Frank Can Address Wall Street’s Role in the Climate Crisis

Graham Steele • January 2020

The scientific consensus on climate change is clear: Carbon emissions must be radically reduced, if not eliminated, to prevent catastrophic environmental and social damage. Nevertheless, American financial institutions are increasing their investments in dirty energy. In this paper, Graham Steele argues that a sustainable shift to green energy requires a significant reallocation of this capital and that the Dodd-Frank Act provides the regulatory tools to require financial institutions to internalize the financial risks associated with lending and investments that drive climate change. While by no means sufficient to address the existential threat of climate, financial regulation is one critical tool that is available without further action from Congress.