Yellen urges China to cooperate with US on fighting climate change

July 12, 2023|Written by

US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has urged China to do more to help developing countries combat climate change and cooperate on international finance green initiatives to address the threat of global warming.

“Climate change is at the top of the list of global challenges, and the United States and China must work together to address this existential threat,” she said at a climate finance roundtable in China on 7 July.

Multilateral climate institutions like the Green Climate Fund and Climate Investment Funds would have more of an impact if China supported them, Yellen said. While China has expressed support for some green finance projects, it has been selective in the funds it supports.

“US-China cooperation on climate finance is critical” to helping emerging and developing countries meet climate goals, she added.

“As the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases and the largest investors in renewable energy, we have both a joint responsibility – and ability – to lead the way,” she said.

Yellen’s comments are in line with US president Joe Biden’s efforts to combat climate change, which is one of the major crises he has promised to address during his presidency.

John Kerry, Biden’s envoy for climate change, is expected to travel to China this month to reopen discussions around global warming. Negotiations between the world’s largest polluting countries were halted by Beijing in August after former US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

While Yellen criticised China’s commitment to green finance, she has rebuked other countries for passing policies that would impact US companies. She recently voiced concerns over the EU’s recent climate disclosure rules and its “negative, unintended consequences for US firms”. The corporate sustainability due diligence directive would require both EU and non-EU companies with branches in the EU to disclose the climate impact on their supply chains.

China received a C grade on the Green Central Banking scorecard, largely due to its lack of leading by example and monetary policy, and a lack of any high-impact measures.

This page was last updated July 11, 2023

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