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Today we’re looking at a tentative climate commitment between Washington and Beijing, new action on climate change by the Treasury Department, and a bill from two congressional progressives to retrofit U.S. public housing.
AYE, THERE’S THE HUB: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance
The Treasury Department on Monday announced its plans to fight climate change through fiscal policy and create a new office to chart an economically beneficial path away from fossil fuel energy.
The department said Monday it will create a “Climate Hub” led by John E. Morton, a former Obama administration official and climate finance expert, that will coordinate climate-related initiatives across the entire Treasury Department.
“The steep consequences of our actions demand that the Treasury Department make climate change a top priority,” said Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change | Manchin throws support behind union-backed PRO Act | Consumer bureau rolls out rule to bolster CDC eviction ban Overnight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ | Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance MORE in a Monday statement.
“Finance and financial incentives will play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis at home and abroad and in providing capital for opportunities to transform the economy.”
How does this fit into the department’s climate strategy? The creation of the Climate Hub is the first major step in Treasury’s long-anticipated push to use its immense power to drive investments toward projects that will fight climate change, reduce carbon emissions and prepare the economy for climate-related risks.
Yellen, who calls climate change “an existential threat,” has pledged for months to make climate change and the financial risks it poses a primary focus of the Treasury Department and its wide-ranging responsibilities.
Read more about the announcement here.
LITTLE GREEN HOUSES: Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’
Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ | Don’t attack Zoom for its Bernie Sanders federal tax bill Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ MORE (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ | White House defends ‘aspirational’ goal of 62,500 refugees Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ MORE (D-N.Y.) have introduced a “Green New Deal for Public Housing” that would provide $172 billion to retrofit existing housing.
The legislation would create two new grant programs to achieve carbon neutrality in U.S. public housing through workforce development and construction.
It would provide grants to retrofit all 950,000 of the country’s public housing units and upgrade building electrification and water quality, according to a fact sheet released by the legislators’ offices. It would also repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which restricts the building of new public housing developments.
How would the grants work?: Public housing agencies seeking to qualify for the grants would be required to guarantee collective bargaining for workers on the projects, as well as classifying them as employees rather than independent contractors. It would also guarantee a right to return for any tenants displaced during construction and fully fund tenant protection vouchers. The bill’s authors project it would create up to 240,000 jobs annually and achieve carbon emission reductions of about 5.6 million metric tons.
Read more about the bill here
WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS: US, China say they are ‘committed’ to cooperating on climate change
The United States and China released a joint statement Saturday evening confirming the two countries’ commitment to cooperating on climate change and ‘strengthening’ the implementation of the Paris Climate Accords.
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ | Blinken says US falling behind China as global leader on climate change The shipping industry needs to move in line with the Paris Agreement MORE and China Special Envoy for Climate Change Xie Zhenhua met in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday, according to the statement released by the State Department.
After discussions in China, the countries agreed to cooperate on multi-lateral processes, including the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The United States and China are committed to cooperating with each other and with other countries to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the seriousness and urgency that it demands,” the statement read.
The two countries are the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, according to The Associated Press.
What does the arrangement involve? Both countries agreed to “pursuing such efforts” to “hold the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees C,” in accordance with the agreement.
“Both countries recall their historic contribution to the development, adoption, signature, and entry into force of the Paris Agreement through their leadership and collaboration,” the statement read.
The statement also noted that both the U.S. and China would take actions in the short term to help fight climate change including “appropriate actions to maximize international investment and finance in support of the transition from carbon-intensive fossil fuel based energy to green, low-carbon and renewable energy in developing countries.”
Read more about the announcement here
FOLLOW THE LEADER: Blinken says US falling behind China as global leader on climate change
Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’ | Blinken says US falling behind China as global leader on climate change White House defends ‘aspirational’ goal of 62,500 refugees MORE on Monday said the U.S. is falling behind China on being a global leader in confronting climate change, part of a push by the Biden administration to invest in infrastructure and technology as a national security and environmental imperative.
“It’s difficult to imagine the United States winning the long term strategic competition with China if we cannot lead the renewable energy revolution. Right now, We’re falling behind,” Blinken said in remarks delivered at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland.
The Biden administration has identified China as the greatest national security challenge of the 21st century and the president has warned that China’s President Xi Jinping views autocracy as the wave of the future.
What’s the danger? Blinken warned that China’s distinction as the largest producer and exporter of renewable energy technology — like solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, electric vehicles and holding a third of renewable energy patents — threatens the stake of the U.S. in these markets.
“If we don’t catch up, America will miss the chance to shape the world’s climate future in a way that reflects our interests and values, and we’ll lose out on countless jobs for the American people,” Blinken said.
Read more about Blinken’s remarks here:
ON TAP TOMORROW:
WHAT WE’RE READING:
The EPA knows tanks holding heavy fuels emit harmful chemicals. Why are Americans still at risk?, Inside Climate News reports
Scientific discovery at national monument suggests tyrannosaurs hunted in packs, The Washington Post reports
Mississippi Power plans to shutter coal, gas plants, E&E News reports
EnergyArizona mining fight pits economy, EVs against conservation, culture, Reuters reports
ICYMI: Stories from Monday and the weekend…
Biden administration releases $8 billion in disaster funding for Puerto Rico
Miners union to back Biden on green energy if it retains jobs
House Republicans kick off climate forum ahead of White House summit
Harris says ‘hard work’ ahead to get infrastructure package through Congress
Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce ‘Green New Deal for Public Housing’
Study: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified
Trump official’s pick to oversee climate report removed from White House post
US, China say they are ‘committed’ to cooperating on climate change
SOMETHING OFFBEAT AND OFF BEAT: What about Bob?