US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen built off President Biden’s remarks on finance as key to combating climate change as she addressed world leaders Thursday.
“We need a sprinting start now if we wish to achieve our goal of net-zero emissions by mid-century. President Biden has recommitted the United States in its part to tackle this crisis and marshal the full capacity of the US government. As Treasury Secretary, I understand that finance – public and private – is crucial to enable countries to accelerate their progress,” she said.
Yellen cited “two questions that keep me up at night,” including how nations can reduce emissions by supporting economic development and responding to other challenges like Covid-19.
The second question, she said, is how should governments target public sector climate finance to mobilize private sector investments, noting that “past efforts to support private investment have not achieved anywhere near the scale needed to green the global economy.”
She vowed that her department “will focus the full range of our tools and expertise to work with you in producing concrete and innovative answers to these questions.”
She outlined key items in the President’s discretionary funding request to address this, including $1.2 billion request for the green climate fund, $485 million in funding to support multilateral climate initiatives, and increased support for multilateral development banks.
Yellen said the US Treasury will work to facilitate investment in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions via technical assistance to counterparts in other countries. The US is also working with the G20 on a sustainable finance working group to establish a sustainable finance roadmap for investors, she said.
She again called for a global partnership in meeting the moment.
“We will only achieve our goal of curtailing climate change through collective action. Today, we, as a global community, need to be ambitious, set goals, work together, and sprint toward a cleaner, safer, better future. We look forward to meeting this challenge together,” she concluded.