Biden Announces Long-Awaited US Climate Finance Pledge at UN General Assembly Convening

Statement by Rachel Cleetus at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Sep 21, 2021

WASHINGTON (September 21, 2020)—At his inaugural address before world leaders at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced a new climate finance pledge that doubles the administration’s prior commitment made in April, which would amount to approximately $11.4 billion annually by 2024. Such funds will be made available to countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis that often contributed very little to global heat-trapping emissions historically.

Below is a statement by Dr. Rachel Cleetus, a policy director in the Climate and Energy Program and a lead economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Dr. Cleetus has been attending the U.N.’s international climate talks and partnered with the international community on climate and energy policies for more than 14 years.

“President Biden’s commitment to scaling up international climate finance to $11.4 billion per year by 2024 is a welcome and much-needed sign that the United States is finally taking its global climate responsibilities seriously. Climate vulnerable nations—particularly low- and middle-income countries—are already reeling from an unprecedented onslaught of climate-related disasters and desperately need financial support to adapt and build resilience to worsening impacts. And they need resources to help them rapidly transition to clean energy.

“The United States’ credibility on the world stage also depends on securing domestic policies to help deliver sharp cuts in its heat-trapping emissions. The $3.5 trillion reconciliation package under consideration in Congress includes significant climate provisions that must be adopted for the good of the nation and global efforts to stave off some of the worst climate impacts. Congress must also appropriate at least $3.3 billion in international climate finance this year.”

Leading aid, development, faith-based, environmental and science organizations—including UCS—sent a letter to the Biden administration yesterday urging a U.S. financial commitment of $12 billon per year by 2024 in order to help limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and stave off the worst climate impacts. Click here to view the joint letter. Additionally, 85 groups sent a letter to congressional appropriators last week, urging them to provide at least $3.3 billion in U.S. support for international programs addressing the climate crisis. Click here view this joint letter.

To talk to Dr. Cleetus, please contact UCS Climate and Energy Media Manager Ashley Siefert Nunes. Dr. Cleetus can also discuss the Build Back Better legislation and UCS joining in the call to postpone the annual U.N. climate talks, also referred to as COP26.