Activists lined the highway leading to the symposium, calling for stronger climate action (Photo D. McNamara) 

Each August, the annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium is a critical gathering of economists, federal bank CEOs, chairmen, and board members, who are making decisions about U.S. financial flows. However, by failing to account for the role of the climate crisis, and propping up fossil fuel investments, they are putting our economy and our communities at risk.

Since the Paris Climate Agreement, the world’s 60 biggest banks have financed fossil fuels to the tune of $4.6 trillion. US banks are the top fossil fuel funders. This is why 350 Colorado volunteers and staff rallied at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming, a critical gathering of global financial decision-makers, including Federal Reserve officials. 350CO and partners from Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota and beyond called on decision makers to recognize the critical risk fossil fuel investments pose to our economy and get on board with the imperative to keep warming under 1.5 degrees.

Activists gathered outside the Jackson Lake Lodge at the start of the Symposium, hosting a press conference and rally (Photo Christian O’Rourke) 


#FossilFreeFed Campaign Takes Action

350 Colorado and partners gained major media attention, making headlines by confronting Fed Chair Jerome Powell, urging him to use powers available to the Fed to take action to address the climate crisis, including setting portfolio limits and penalties on fossil fuel finance for financial institutions. You can watch and share our 2 minute recap video here to learn more.

On the opening day of the Economic Symposium, activists lined the highway with banners between the airport and lodge where the Symposium took place, calling for an end to fossil fuel finance. Throughout the Symposium, we maintained a strong presence, calling for climate leadership and the Federal Reserve to account for climate risk.

Working for social change and systemic transformation is no easy task. Each time we raise our voices and take action however, we move the needle. This is indeed what we did together in Wyoming this past week, where we not only made ourselves visible to Federal Reserve and economic policy leaders & decision makers, but we also brought our message and our demands to a global audience. 

 “People across the Mountain West and beyond gathered for the Federal Reserve’s Economic Symposium to call on our central bank and other leaders across our nation and globe to enact the needed policies to transition investments in fossil fuels to investments in a clean renewable energy future,” shared 350CO Executive Director Micah Parkin. “Wildfires, droughts, extreme temperatures and other impacts of the climate crisis are already devastating people across our region and the world. These impacts cost our nation over $145 billion last year alone, so we need the Federal Reserve to manage this threat to our economy and reign in the banks fueling the crisis.”

Tee McClenty speaks at a rally in front of Jackson Lake Lodge, Aug 25, 2022 (Photo: Christian O’Rourke)

To address climate change, the Federal Reserve should: 
  • End fossil fuel finance through the banks & phase out all fossil fuel financing by 2030. The Fed should use existing regulatory and supervisory tools to begin limiting and phasing down the financing of emissions through curbing bank lending to fossil fuel infrastructure and projects.

  • Align Fed spending and asset purchases with the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C; The Fed should encourage and support bank investment aimed at limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, with an emphasis on lending to low-income communities and communities of color.

Here’s how you can take action:

“Here in the U.S. and across the world, communities are being disrupted by unprecedented climate impacts. From droughts and wildfires to floods and hurricanes, the future is looking increasingly bleak if we do not rapidly end fossil fuel financing and invest in climate solutions. The Federal Reserve is supposed to account for risks to the U.S. economy; yet, they have continued to allow banks to finance the drivers of climate catastrophe. Over the last few days we’ve made our message clear to the Federal Reserve.  The time is now for them to stop making excuses and account for climate risk, end fossil fuel financing, and support sustainable solutions.” – Giselle Herzfeld, 350CO Defunding Climate Disaster Coordinator