USA back with “fired weapons” on climate issue



By Andrea Shalal

ROM (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury’s top climate adviser said the U.S. renewed commitment to climate change under President Joe Biden has helped put the issue at the top of the Group of 20 agenda and new commitments to reduce it Revive emissions to net zero.

Climate change will play a prominent role at the G20 summit in Rome this weekend, said John Morton, a former private equity advisor and first climate advisor to the Treasury. He also predicts a spate of new commitments from countries and the private sector in the run-up to the UN climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.

“This is an indication of the seriousness with which the global community is now taking climate change,” he told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “And obviously this government has come back with arms to fight the issue in really important ways.”

At their meeting over the weekend, the leaders of the group of the 20 richest nations will commit to step up their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

Morton, who coordinates climate-related work across all finance departments, said he hoped Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion spending plan provisions-us-budget-bill-framework-2021-10-28 with $ 555 billion in tax credits for clean energy and other climate-related measures is set to close in the coming days.

“It would be an absolutely historic investment in climate change, by far the largest in American history, and accelerate transition efforts,” he said.

That spending comes on top of separate measures contained in a separate $ 1 trillion infrastructure bill, but several of the government’s original proposals were killed in Congressional negotiations.

Biden’s framework includes a range of clean energy tax credits, investments to help the United States adapt to the worst effects of climate change, and funding of incentives to promote new domestic supply chains and technologies.

Morton said reducing emissions and moving to a net-zero economy is an “economic imperative” needed to ensure the continued competitiveness of the US, especially given the massive investments made by other countries like China.

“The benefit of this legislation is that it creates the incentives and the building blocks to actually address this problem,” he said, referring to tax credits and incentives in the expense account aimed at advancing technologies like solar and wind energy and batteries.

“Shame on us if we fail to take advantage of these economic opportunities at home and create the jobs we know will be the jobs for decades to come,” he said.

Washington is also working with international partners to accelerate efforts to move away from coal, Morton said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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