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US returns with ‘guns on fire’ on climate issue

By Andrea Shalal

ROME (Reuters) – The US Treasury’s top climate adviser has said renewed US involvement in climate change under President Joe Biden has helped put the issue at the top of the Group 20 agenda and fuel new commitments to reduce emissions to net. reduce.

Climate change will feature prominently at this weekend’s G20 summit in Rome, said John Morton, a former private equity adviser and the Treasury’s first climate adviser. He also predicted a wave of new commitments from countries and the private sector ahead of the COP26 UN climate conference starting in Glasgow on Monday.

“This is an indication of the seriousness with which the world community is now taking climate change,” he told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “And of course, this administration has come back in guns burning on the issue in very important ways.”

During their weekend meeting, leaders of the Group of 20 Richest Nations will commit themselves to stepping up their efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

Morton, who coordinates climate-focused work on the treasury divisions, said he hopes Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion spending plan bill- framework-2021-10-28, with $ 555 billion in tax credits for clean energy and other climate-related measures, will be finalized in the coming days.

“It will be an absolutely historic investment in climate change, by far the largest in U.S. history, and it will strengthen the efforts surrounding the transition,” he said.

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

Biden’s framework includes a number of clean energy tax credits, investments aimed at helping the United States adapt to the worst impacts of climate change, and funding for incentives designed to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies.

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

“The benefit of this legislation is that it puts the incentives and building blocks in place to really start addressing that issue,” he said, referring to tax credits and incentives in the spending bill aimed at leveraging technologies such as solar, wind promote. a battery.

“We are ashamed if we do not take advantage of those economic opportunities at home and create the work that we know will be the work of the next decades,” he said.

Washington is also working with international partners to invest in accelerating efforts to switch away from coal, Morton said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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