U.S. market regulator delays climate risk report again, citing pandemic

July 21 (Reuters) - The first report ever commissioned by a U.S. regulator on climate-related risks to financial markets won’t be ready until August or early September because of delays related to the coronavirus pandemic, the report’s lead author said on Tuesday.

Bob Litterman, who chairs a panel formed last year by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to examine the threat that sea-level rise and a warming planet pose to the stability of financial markets, told commissioners that the group’s 35 members had been working “diligently, productively, cohesively and collaboratively” to put together a “comprehensive roadmap” for markets and regulators to manage climate risks.

The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 140,000 in the United States and infected more than 3.8 million, made in-person meetings of the group impossible and slowed production of its report, Litterman said.

“Today, climate change is just starting to have impacts on valuations of securities and creditworthiness of market participants, and just about the only thing we can be confident of is that impacts will grow over time,” Litterman said.

“The bottom line in this report is that the U.S. financial regulators must recognize that climate change poses serious emerging risks to the U.S. financial system and they should move urgently and decisively to better measure, understand and address these risks.”

The group comprises a broad range of participants including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, oil producer BP Plc, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Dairy Farmers of America.

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard, who has pushed for a more robust response to climate change risks by the U.S. central bank, has said she is looking forward to the report. (Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Bernadette Baum)