Yellen Urges China to Cooperate More on Climate Finance

The Biden administration on Saturday urged China to do more to help developing countries fight climate change, prompting the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter to give the International Climate Finance Fund, which has so far refused to help. asked for help.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen delivered this message on the second day of her talks in Beijing, aiming to explore areas of US-China cooperation. China has expressed support for programs to help poor countries deal with the impacts of climate change, but has resisted contributing to such funds, claiming it is also a developing country. are doing.

Yellen said China, like the United States, has a responsibility to become a leader in climate finance.

“Climate finance should be efficiently and effectively targeted,” Yellen said Saturday morning at a meeting of Chinese and international sustainable finance expert groups. “I believe that if China can work with our country and other donor governments to support existing multilateral climate change institutions such as the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Fund, we can have a greater impact than we do today. increase.”

Both the U.S. and China are for countries struggling to address the impacts of climate change, such as closing coal-fired power plants, developing renewable energy, building seawalls, improving drainage, and early development. and face pressure from developing countries to mobilize more resources. Warning system for floods and cyclones.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States has pledged $3 billion over four years to the Green Climate Fund, a UN-led program aimed at helping poor countries. So far, it has fulfilled $2 billion of that promise. Republicans have repeatedly called for blocking taxpayer spending on the fund and other climate funds, but President Biden has allowed discretionary spending within the State Department to fulfill some of America’s promises. have been utilized.

China pledged $3.1 billion and paid about 10% of it, according to the study. It also provides funding to developing countries through what leaders call “South-South” cooperation. That said, even though China currently has a much larger manufacturing sector than any other country, China is still considered a developing country and not a developed country under the United Nations Climate Change Organization. Body. Developed countries like the US have been polluting for far longer and have long resisted pressure to contribute to the same climate funds as rich countries, claiming they have a greater responsibility to help tackle climate change. I’ve been

China’s special envoy for climate change, Xie Zhenhua, said in an interview last year that after the creation of a new multilateral fund to help poor countries cope with economic losses from climate disasters, “under UN climate change rules” It is not China’s obligation to provide financial support.” .

John Morton, a former climate counselor at the Treasury Department under the Biden administration, said China’s meaningful contribution could help the U.S. make its case to Congress and others for climate funding approval. said. He also said there may be other ways the two superpowers can work together to help developing countries reduce their coal use and curb methane, a potent greenhouse gas that leaks from oil and gas wells. said no.

“It’s going to have a huge impact on the world,” he said. “Any time there is an opportunity for a closer relationship with China on climate change, it should be taken advantage of immediately.”

The United States and China are co-leaders of the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group, which provides an opportunity for the two countries to work more closely together on global climate issues.

Yellen is the second member of the Biden administration to visit China in recent weeks. Secretary of State Anthony J. Brinken also visited in June. Later in July, President Biden’s special envoy for climate change, John Kerry, is due to visit to resume global warming talks between the world’s two most polluting nations.

In addition, President Biden is scheduled to attend a forum in London on Tuesday to discuss ways to mobilize climate change finance, particularly “putting aside private funding for clean energy deployment and adaptation in developing countries.” The goal is to find out, said Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor. the adviser said on Friday.

During her four-day visit to China, Yellen has sought to reopen communication channels with her counterpart in Beijing after years of mistrust, fueled by trade wars and export restrictions on sensitive technology. At a meeting this week, Yellen criticized China’s treatment of foreign companies and argued that more frequent dialogue among government officials would help prevent policy misunderstandings from escalating.

The finance minister met with Premier Li Qiang in Beijing on Friday and also discussed climate change finance. He is scheduled to meet with Vice Premier He Lifeng, who oversees China’s economy, on Saturday afternoon.

Over the past two years, China has been building coal-fired power plants and expanding coal mines, raising concerns in Washington.

Chinese officials said they plan to start by 2030 at the latest and phase out carbon emissions completely by 2060. China has also been a world leader in installing solar power and exporting solar panels to other countries.

China has doubled its coal consumption, partly for national security reasons. They don’t want to rely any more on imported oil and natural gas, which could be cut off in times of crisis.

Chinese power experts say the new coal-fired plants will be used mainly during peak power demand and won’t be available around the clock. But critics say the power plants, once built, will inevitably have a negative impact on the climate in the long run.

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