Less than a day after being inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden has already signed several executive orders, including an order to have the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement, the largest international joint effort to suppress climate change.
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Having Joe Biden as the new President of the United States certainly casted a huge sense of relief to climate change activists worldwide. Just hours after taking office, President Biden has already put the climate crisis into his administration’s agenda by reinstating the U.S. back into the Paris Agreement. Aside from showing Biden’s seriousness in tackling the climate calamity, the move is no doubt becoming a first major step in healing the rifts between the U.S. and the rest of the world, especially the one created after former President Donald Trump abruptly left the Paris pact and further pushed his administration to weaken or undo major domestic climate policies.
What is the Paris Agreement?
The Paris Agreement is an international accord in which almost every nation joins hands in addressing climate change and the dangers it presents. The accord was created in 2015 with the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the global temperature increase to be less than 2 degree Celsius.
Although the Paris Agreement demands full and continuous commitments from all nations to cut their own climate pollution rates, the pact also acknowledges the difficulty faced by developing countries in balancing their economic and environmental priorities. Hence, the Paris Agreement engages developed countries in aiding developing countries in managing their mitigation and adaptation efforts .
So, why did Trump leave the Paris pact?
Former President Trump had long declared his wish to abandon the Paris Climate Agreement since his campaigns for election in 2016. As promised, he announced the exit on June 1, 2017, though the official pull out was finished on November 4, 2020 due to some long procedures. However, Trump did not wait for the completion of said long procedures as he paused or terminated many climate policies during his reign as president. The question is: why was Trump so eager to leave the international climate pact?
Trump has repeatedly denied climate change and he also claimed that joint global action on climate change could never coexist with his vision of ‘America First’ , and that the accord would cost the country $3 trillion GDP and 2.7 million jobs by 2025. He also added that the U.S. would face the risk of brownouts and blackouts if fossil fuels usage was to be limited. However, many experts said that Trump’s claims were exaggerated with no strong proof or citation .
Now that America is back on the Paris Agreement, what implications does it have domestically and internationally?
There are two major international hints following the return of the U.S. into the climate agreement. First, the U.S. is currently emitting around a third of the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere . Coming back to the Paris Agreement means that there will be commitments again to stop a third of our total carbon emission. Second, the U.S. was the one of the most influential countries when it came to the creation of the Paris Agreement . Thus, having the U.S. rejoining the pact certainly strengthens back the core value of the Paris Agreement itself.
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However, despite their return, the Biden administration has a lot to catch up after little development on climate mitigation for the last four years.
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