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Politics Overnight Energy: Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance | Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez introduce 'Green New Deal for Public Housing' |

02:05  20 april  2021
02:05  20 april  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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MONDAY AGAIN! Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.

a man wearing a suit and tie: John Kerry © (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images) John Kerry

Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him on Twitter: @BudrykZack . Signup for our newsletter and others HERE.

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.

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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 Yellen 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."

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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 Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (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.

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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.

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U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry 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."

Overnight Energy: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030 | Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

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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 Blinken 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:

  • The House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Interior Department's budget request for next year. Secretary Deb Haaland is slated to appear.
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the global fight against climate change. Patricia Espinosa, the leader of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will appear.
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on offshore wind. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management director Amanda Lefton is slated to appear.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled "Generating equity: Deploying a just and clean energy future"

WHAT WE'RE READING:

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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

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Treasury creates hub to fight climate change through finance

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US, China say they are 'committed' to cooperating on climate change

SOMETHING OFFBEAT AND OFF BEAT: What about Bob?

The Latest: Tracker credits Biden summit on emissions gap .
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Joe Biden's global climate summit (all times local): 9:10 a.m. An analysis shows President Joe Biden’s climate summit and the run-up to it cut the so-called emissions gap, a crucial measurement used to see if the world can limit global warming, by about one-eighth. Climate Action Tracker is a group of scientists who monitor nations’ pledges of carbon pollution cuts. It calculated that targets announced since last September cut about 12% to 14% from the emissions gap. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb.

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