© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about administration plans to confront climate change at the White House ceremony in Washington
By Andrea Shalal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Thursday said it will boost public climate finance to help poor countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate, doubling funding by 2024 from average levels hit during the Obama administration.
The White House said it was embracing “ambitious but attainable goals” for international aid to developing countries given the urgency of the climate crisis and to compensate for a sharp drop in U.S. funding during the Trump administration.
As part of the goal, the White House said that by 2024 it would triple financing of climate adaptation, which focuses on adjustments to current or expected climate change. It said it will work with Congress to enact needed legislation.
Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, a top aide to Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry, said total U.S. international public climate finance averaged around $2.8 billion a year during the baseline period from fiscal year 2013 to 2017, with around $500 million going toward adaptation. That was the most recent period where U.S. climate finance was at an all-time high, he said on Twitter.
In a fact sheet, the White House said U.S. agencies, working with development partners, would prioritize climate in their investments, expand technical assistance and increase funding for adaptation and resilience.
It said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) would release a new Climate Change Strategy in November 2021, at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) would change its development strategy to include climate for the first time, and prioritize climate mitigation and adaptation.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s new climate strategy would focus on climate-smart development and sustainable infrastructure, aiming to put more than 50% of its funding into climate-related investments over the next five years, it said.
The U.S. Treasury would direct U.S. executive directors in multilateral development banks (MDBs) to ensure that those institutions, including the World Bank, set and apply ambitious climate finance targets and policies.
Treasury, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, will spearhead efforts to modify guidelines for official export financing to reorient financing away from carbon-intensive activities, it said.