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US is back in Paris Climate Agreement

Biden is set to completely reverse predecessor Trump's policies on environmental issues

by: Isti Miskolczy

On the 19th of February, the US officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement - the one which the country exited under Donald Trump's presidency in 2020. With exactly a month in the presidential office, the move demanded by many was finally completed by the Biden administration.

"Let's get to work." - Biden tweeted in his announcement.

The Paris Climate Agreement is an international treaty on climate change with the aim of limiting global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. It is widely seen as a significant step towards achieving a climate-neutral earth by 2050.

Photo courtesy of US Embassy Jerusalem via Creative Commons. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Having entered into force in November 2016 under the Obama administration, the agreement bindingly brings all nations to "undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects" - according to the United Nations Office on Climate Change - and with that it is the first legally binding worldwide climate treaty involving 189 countries.

Former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo often criticised the agreement, arguing that it brings “unfair economic burden imposed on American workers, businesses and taxpayers”. Thus begun the withdrawal process in November 2019 which was finished a year later in November 2020. The readmission was much faster though: Joe Biden signed an executive order of intent on his inauguration day, and announced the fresh official readmission just yesterday.

"I am very pleased to mark the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement (...). This is good news for the United States - and for the whole world" - tweeted UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who also labeled the treaty as a "historic achievement" and as a "pact with our children, grandchildren, and the whole human family".

"Welcome back." - the Secretary-General added.

To further tackle the environmental issues the world has to face, another executive order of Biden froze new oil and gas leases on federal lands - reported the BBC. The President is also said to be aiming to double offshore wind-produced energy and to conserve around one-third of federal territories, including oceans by the year 2030.


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