May 10, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The newest federal climate officials

Illustration of a hand depositing a one dollar bill into the Earth through a slot.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) on Monday announced its first "chief climate officer" and his deputy as the development bank looks to use billions in financing tools to help combat global warming.

Driving the news: The chief climate officer is Jake Levine, an energy and climate expert who arrives via the law firm Covington & Burling.

  • He's previously advised California officials, worked for the power software company Opower and served in President Obama's White House.
  • The development bank also announced Aparna Shrivastava, who comes from her role as climate finance lead for the NGO Mercy Corps, as deputy chief climate officer.
  • The DFC notes she brings years of experience in sustainable development in East Africa, Central America and South Asia.

Why it matters: It's part of wider White House efforts to leverage federal financial and development agencies to help other countries cut emissions and become more resilient to climate change.

The big picture: The announcement comes about two weeks after the White House released a broad international climate finance plan.

  • It makes climate investments a priority for the DFC, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

How it works: The DFC's various tools include project loans, political risk insurance, technical assistance and, via 2018 legislation, the ability to make equity investments.

  • The recent White House plan calls for increasing new climate-focused investments at the DFC to 33% of its billions of dollars in annual new portfolio additions beginning in fiscal year 2023.
  • And an administration official tells Axios that beyond that specific target, the DFC is looking to stitch climate into the fabric of its portfolio more broadly.
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