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8 Jul 2023
Lucy Hodgman

NextImg:Yellen nudges China on climate finance cooperation during Beijing visit

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged global financial cooperation on climate change Saturday, calling on China to contribute to international development funds during her visit to Beijing.

In her remarks at a climate finance roundtable, Yellen emphasized the leading role China and the U.S. must play in climate efforts. She also drew parallels between the U.S. and China as the two largest economies, greenhouse gas emitters and investors in renewable energy globally.

“Climate finance should be targeted efficiently and effectively,” Yellen said. “I believe that if China were to support existing multilateral climate institutions like the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Funds alongside us and other donor governments, we could have a greater impact than we do today.”

Both funds listed by Yellen are geared toward countering climate change in developing nations. China has been reluctant to contribute to these funds in the past, claiming that it is also a developing nation.

Yellen also discussed the importance of broad transitions toward the goal of net-zero carbon emissions, including in the private sector. She suggested that the U.S. and China increase and improve their investments in reducing climate change “in ways that are interoperable to our different systems.”

Yellen’s trip to China comes as the United States tries to ease tensions between the two countries and follows a visit from Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month.

Following her remarks, Yellen met with Vice Premier He Lifeng, her counterpart in the Chinese government. Climate finance remained a focus of Yellen’s in this meeting, according to a statement from the Treasury Department.

During her meeting with He, Yellen also called on China to contribute to “debt distress in low-income and emerging economies,” restructuring the debt that it is owed by developing nations as the U.S. and the EU routinely do. China has also resisted this course of action in the past.