U.S. backing global fight against climate change, leverage private investment: Yellen

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden announces members of his economic policy team in Wilmington, Delaware
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary-designate Janet Yellen in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

April 6, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government under President Joe Biden is working closely with the international community to tackle climate change, increase the scale of climate finance and leverage additional private investment, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday.

Yellen told her first meeting with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, which Washington joined last week, the U.S. Treasury would play a critical role in a government-wide push to reach an ambitious 2030 emissions target under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Biden is due to announce the target at a leaders’ summit on climate change later this month, a sharp reversal from the actions of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who withdrew the United States from the climate accord.

“Climate, by its very nature, requires strong global cooperation,” Yellen told the group. “We lost four important years, and we recognize that many of you around the room have been leading change in your own countries.”

Treasury was working through the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council and in international forums to understand and mitigate the risks that climate change posed to the stability of the U.S. financial system and economy, she said.

It was pushing to increase the availability of reliable data on climate-related financial risks; coordinate approaches among regulatory agencies to address climate risks; and examine the potential systemic consequences of climate change, Yellen said.

She said Treasury was also supporting international efforts to “better identify climate-aligned investments and encourage financial institutions to credibly align their portfolios and strategies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

At the same time, Treasury was working with the White House, Congress and others to ensure that domestic economic programs and tax policies supported U.S. climate goals, including a transition to a decarbonized economy, building climate-resilient infrastructure and supporting equity and well-paying jobs.

Yellen said Treasury was also seeking to increase the scale of climate finance and use such tools to leverage added private investment.

She said she was pleased to be co-chairing the Group of 20’s newly re-established sustainable finance group, which she said would provide an important venue to tackle climate-related issues and work on other sustainability goals.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and David Lawder; Editing by Dan Grebler)