Secretary Statements & Remarks

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at Climate Finance Roundtable in the People’s Republic of China

As Prepared for Delivery

I am happy to be here today with all of you. Thank you for joining me.

I am in Beijing at this critical time because, while there are disagreements between our nations, President Biden and I believe it is in the best interests of our peoples to put our relationship on a better track and to maintain open and honest lines of communication.

This is particularly important for tackling longstanding global challenges that threaten us all. As the two largest economies in the world, it is in our interest to work together on these challenges, and it is something the world expects of us.

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.

History shows us what our two countries can do: moments of cooperation on climate between the United States and China have made global breakthroughs possible, including the Paris Agreement.

Both our countries seek to support partners in emerging markets and developing countries as they strive to meet their climate goals, and I believe continued U.S.-China cooperation on climate finance is critical.

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.

Climate finance should be targeted efficiently and effectively. 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.

It is also critical that we encourage economy-wide transitions toward net-zero, which needs to include the private sector. We should work to increase and improve climate-aligned investment in ways that are interoperable to our different systems.

I was pleased last month to join colleagues from around the world, including Premier Li Qiang, at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris. The Summit was an important political moment in our 2023 agenda to advance action on global challenges, including climate.

Next will be the upcoming G20 meetings, for which I will head to India, and then the Annual Meetings in Marrakech followed by COP 28.

At the upcoming Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, I look forward to receiving recommendations put forth by the various working groups – including the Sustainable Finance Working Group, which the United States and China co-chair.

Over the last three years, the Sustainable Finance Working Group has developed a roadmap for sustainable finance, held workshops on carbon pricing and non-pricing policy levers, developed a transition finance framework, and made a range of recommendations on climate finance. This is a good of example of what our bilateral cooperation can achieve – and we should build on it in multilateral forums.

This extends from government-to-government platforms to forums convened of academic, think tank, private sector, and non-government experts such as yourselves. For instance, I know several of you participate in the so-called U.S.-China Track II Dialogue on Climate Finance.

I look forward to hearing more about that work today, and other views you have on how we can better cooperate on climate change and climate finance specifically, given that the changing climate affects all countries, with the most vulnerable facing the most negative impacts.

Thank you.