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Yellen urges China to increase its climate finance investments

Yellen urges China to increase its climate finance investments

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has called on China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to work with other nations to tackle climate change and increase its investments in low-carbon technologies.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors on Wednesday, Yellen said China can have “greater impact” by aligning its overseas financing with the Paris Agreement goals and by “significantly increasing” its public climate finance contributions.

“We recognize that developed countries have a special responsibility to support the efforts of developing countries,” Yellen said. “And we urge our G20 partners to join us in increasing their own public climate finance contributions.”

Yellen’s remarks come as the US and China are locked in a tense rivalry over trade, technology, human rights and security issues. However, both sides have expressed willingness to cooperate on climate issues, despite their differences.

In April, US climate envoy John Kerry visited Shanghai and met with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua. The two issued a joint statement pledging to work together to address the climate crisis and to raise their respective ambitions ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow in November.

China has pledged to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, but it has not yet submitted a detailed plan on how it will meet those targets. It is also the world’s largest financier of coal projects abroad, which are incompatible with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Yellen said the US is committed to mobilizing $100 billion per year from public and private sources to help developing countries cope with the impacts of climate change and transition to clean energy. She also said the US will work with multilateral development banks to align their lending portfolios with the Paris Agreement and to increase their climate finance.

“We are all in this together. And we must all do more,” Yellen said.

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