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Yellen lays out 'bold' climate agenda for U.S. economy, markets

CommoditiesApr 21, 2021 04:35PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen attends economic briefing at the White House in Washington 2/2

By Ann Saphir, Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

(Reuters) -U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday pledged to aggressively tackle climate change using all the tools at her disposal, warning that a failure to do so effectively and promptly could undermine economic growth.

To bring the U.S. economy in line with international goals of eliminating carbon emissions will "require bold and urgent action - nothing less than transforming important sectors of the global economy, especially when it comes to how we generate power and move people and goods," Yellen said in a wide-ranging speech to the Institute of International Finance.

"We are committed to directing public investment to areas that can facilitate our transition to net-zero and strengthen the functioning of our financial system so that workers, investors, and businesses can seize the opportunity that tackling climate change presents," Yellen said.

U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled on Thursday to convene a summit of 40 world leaders on climate change, where he is expected to unveil a target to cut emissions by roughly 50% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels.

Yellen's remarks reflect a sharp reversal of the policies of the Trump administration, which had pulled the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and blocked greater action by the Group of Seven advanced economies.

Yellen said international cooperation was urgently needed, and the Biden administration's comprehensive approach to climate change would give financial institutions and international partners greater certainty about U.S. plans.

"This is an immense, immense task. We need to work together closely ... in order to deal with what has become an essential risk to our planet," Yellen said during a Q&A session after her speech, adding that the financial sector had a big role to play in funding the transition to a net-zero economy.

The costs would be "enormous," Yellen said, noting that Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan would make some needed investments in greening the economy while removing tax subsidies for fossil fuels, which cost taxpayers some $4 billion a year.

But she said private capital would be needed to fill a gap that one estimate put at over $2.5 trillion for the United States alone over the next decade.

To make that happen, she said, investors needed reliable, consistent and comparable data on climate-related risks amid the growing incidence of severe weather events.

Yellen said the Financial Stability Oversight Council would be the principal agency managing and assessing the financial risks associated with climate change, and if necessary, taking appropriate action to mitigate them.

She said the FSOC could also facilitate the sharing of data on risks among regulators, but that required greater disclosures by non-financial and financial companies of risks.

The global Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate Related Disclosure had devised a framework that was proving useful, and she hoped the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would base its own efforts on that work.

Yellen lays out 'bold' climate agenda for U.S. economy, markets
 

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Comments (12)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 23, 2021 10:34AM ET
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Why is the U.S. Treasury Secretary talking about imaginary "climate change"?
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 23, 2021 10:34AM ET
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Probably for the same reason that you guys talk about the imaginary "deep state".
James Andrews
James Andrews Apr 22, 2021 3:04AM ET
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The climate is changing because the magnetic poles are shifting and may reverse again.. A natural phenomenon regulations and EVs won't fix. China & India are industrializing rapidly and most greenhouse gasses are from beef farming, which no one talks about because no one is giving up meat. Europe has been paying through the nose for decades and hasn't made a dent, it's a total sc am.
Azmi Ab
Azmi Ab Apr 22, 2021 3:04AM ET
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You are an OIL pro, we understand, but you are putting the future of the human race in danger because you don't aknowledge thae fact that the CARBON consintrations in the atmosphere is double the amount before the industrial revolution.  I urge you to read about the carbon in the atmosphere in WIKIPEDIA
gary Gould
gary Gould Apr 21, 2021 8:38PM ET
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awesome beats the ****outta the .." ****the planet club let's make some money ..even though we wont be around in 120 years to spend it club"
Clarisse Noelle
Clarisse Noelle Apr 21, 2021 7:22PM ET
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Errrrr
Jo Pa
Jo Pa Apr 21, 2021 5:59PM ET
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Yellen is the treasurer, not the head of climate science. She should stick to what she knows, because the science doesn't agree with her.
Jo Pa
Jo Pa Apr 21, 2021 5:55PM ET
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'Bold' is a meaningless word commonly used to describe poorly thought Biden era policies.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 21, 2021 5:50PM ET
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Big corporations and their wealthy backers who cuddle up to the government to "help" them achieve their climate goals will be the only winners.  End result will be zero effect on the environment at best.  Quality of life will decrease do to the wasted capital that our quality of life is built on.  The lower income and poor will be the most effected.
Azmi Ab
Azmi Ab Apr 21, 2021 5:50PM ET
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You are wrong, we have to reduce the CARBON emissions from our life style, this time the gov. of all the countries will do so in 3 major sectors, 1. CARS 2. ELECTRICITY 3. INDUSTRIAL FACTORIES. To do so, Solar Panels will be part of the scenery, EV's will be here instead of fossil fuel, and factories will run on self generated power
Red Riley
Red Riley Apr 21, 2021 5:36PM ET
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pretty sure her breathing is causing the most climate change. dragon breath.
Yankee Steve
Yankee Steve Apr 21, 2021 5:09PM ET
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Where is my maglev train or hyperloop? I dont need Amtrak. We need kess airplanes
Gene Kret
Gene Kret Apr 21, 2021 4:57PM ET
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I hope Yellen leaves her present job real soon.
oeg vokar
oeg vokar Apr 21, 2021 4:40PM ET
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This 'Climate Change" staff is worst than Communism.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 21, 2021 3:45PM ET
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'Climate Change' has to be one of the biggest myths in Human History.
 
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