Yellen: ‘We lost four important years’ in fight against climate change

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday said the U.S. is working closely with the international community to combat climate change, saying the country “lost four important years” under the Trump administration.

Yellen made the remarks in an address during her first meeting with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action. She reportedly said the U.S. is committed to reaching the reduced emissions goal of 2030 set by the Obama-era Paris climate agreement.

“Climate, by its very nature, requires strong global cooperation,” Yellen said. “We lost four important years, and we recognize that many of you around the room have been leading change in your own countries.”

The U.S. joined the coalition just last week, Reuters notes, along with seven other new member countries: Belgium, Burkina Faso, Japan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Rwanda.

Yellen stated that the Treasury Department would, through the U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council, determine the financial risks presented by climate change and how to mitigate the consequences.

The secretary added that Treasury would support efforts to “better identify climate-aligned investments and encourage financial institutions to credibly align their portfolios and strategies with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.”

She stated that Treasury was working with the “White House, Congress and others” to ensure that domestic economic programs and tax policies support U.S. climate goals, including “a decarbonized economy, building climate-resilient infrastructure, and designing the climate transition to support equity and well-paying jobs.”

Yellen has previously said Treasury’s approach to climate change will “change dramatically” under her leadership. During a meeting of Group of Seven (G7) finance ministers and central bankers, Yellen stated that the U.S. was prepared to take the lead in the global fight against climate change following four years of environmental rollbacks during the Trump administration.

“She expressed strong support for G7 efforts to tackle climate change, highlighting that her colleagues should expect the Treasury Department’s engagement on this issue to change dramatically relative to the last four years,” the Treasury Department said in a statement at the time.

Tags Climate change Climate change policy Janet Yellen Paris agreement Yellen

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