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Biden to pledge climate aid for developing nations next week

Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Ari Natter, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is set to announce next week a plan for distributing billions of dollars more in aid to help developing nations adapt to global warming and embrace clean energy, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Treasury Department will deliver a blueprint for the spending as President Joe Biden prepares to convene the leaders of up to 40 nations in a climate summit Thursday, said the people, who asked for anonymity before a formal announcement.

The finance plan is part of a rush of actions as the administration seeks to prove to the world that the U.S. is back in the global fight against climate change. The president is also preparing to issue an executive order addressing the financial risks posed by climate change and to vow to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade from 2005 levels.

Spokespeople for the White House and Treasury did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Rich countries pledged in 2009 that by 2020 they’d collectively devote $100 billion annually to climate finance but have fallen far short. As the country responsible for the lion’s share of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today, the U.S. is under pressure to loosen its purse strings.

“What America does on climate finance really will set the tone for the rest of the world,” said Joe Thwaites, an associate with the World Resources Institute’s Sustainable Finance Center.

 

“An ambitious pledge from the U.S. is going to unlock more ambition on climate finance from other countries,” Thwaites said, citing the Group of Seven industrial countries. “The rest of the G7 knows that the pressure is on, but they’re all waiting to see what the U.S. does here.”

The administration is honing in on a pledge to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels before the end of the decade, building on the previous U.S. commitment under the Paris climate accord. That new “nationally determined contribution” compares with a target of 26%-28% by 2025 set by former President Barack Obama.

Biden is also preparing to issue an executive order addressing the financial risks posed by climate change. In it, Biden will direct Treasury to work with members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to share climate-related financial-risk data and issue a report within six months on efforts to address such risks by each independent regulatory agency, Bloomberg News reported last week.

The virtual summit with world leaders Thursday and Friday is meant to galvanize global efforts to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels.

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