Biden Vows Cut to US Emissions as Yellen Commits Full Power of Treasury to Address Climate Change

Washington DC – Financial decisions play a critical role in solving climate change, advocated Treasury Secretary Yellen during a US-hosted climate summit. More than 40 world leaders are attending the two-day virtual gathering convened by President Biden. Biden announced a new US target to halve fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050. 

“The summit encourages world leaders to do more to protect our planet and environment,” noted Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA Network. “Secretary Yellen's powerful words remind us that climate change decisions are linked to financial decisions and global coronavirus response."

In a strategy unveiled on Tuesday, Treasury pledged to confront climate change, domestically and globally, in all decisions the financial institution considers. To ensure all agencies within Treasury focus on climate change, Yellen named John Morton as the department's first Climate Counselor to lead the Climate Hub, reporting directly to Yellen on climate matters.

“Treasury is playing a key leadership role at the IMF and G20 to confront climate change worldwide," stated LeCompte. 

This year the US co-chairs the G20 sustainable finance working group which will have a role in climate change issues.

In a speech on Wednesday to a group of private investors and creditors, the Institute of International Finance, Yellen asserted that developing countries are vulnerable to climate change. She underscored that infrastructure investments should be low-emission, resilient and sustainable.

“Treasury's encouragement for private sector investments to promote climate solutions is important,” shared LeCompte. "I worry that Yellen's words are falling on deaf ears. In spite of the urging of the US, IMF, G20, UN and World Bank, too much of the private sector refuses to participate in coronavirus debt relief. Segments of the private sector are forcing developing countries to choose between paying debt or supporting their people and addressing climate change."

In March, Jubilee USA Network and Treasury organized a roundtable with Yellen and high-ranking religious leaders. At the meeting, the Secretary shared her vision of Treasury's role in combating climate change. 

See the full agenda for President Biden's Leaders Summit on Climate here.

Read Secretary Yellen's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here

Read Secretary Yellen's speech to the Institute of International Finance here.

Read Treasury's readout of the Jubilee USA High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

Read about the Jubilee USA High-Level Roundtable with Secretary Yellen here.

Read President Biden's speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate here.