Hours after being sworn in as president of the United States, Joe Biden made his first significant moves in the White House, including signing an executive order to rejoin the Paris climate deal.
As a result, the U.S. will officially return to the historic commitment to limit warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius in 30 days. The United States left the deal on November 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election, under the leadership of former President Donald Trump.
“It simply came to our notice then [the] planet itself, ”Biden said his inaugural speech, “A cry that could not be more desperate or clearer.”
The Paris agreement has always been more of a symbolic commitment than a substantive one. For the Trump administration, abandoning the agreement indicated that the The US was relinquishing its role as a climate leader, on the other hand, it will double as a nation that depends on the extraction of fossil fuels. Now, under the administration of Biden, the movement – part of a wave of early actions reversing Trump’s agenda in everything from immigration to the pandemic response symbolizes that the country is more committed than ever to tackling the climate crisis.
Even before Biden signed the executive order, the climate community began to gather praise.
“Welcome back to the Paris climate agreement,” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron.
“By rejoining the Paris agreement, President Biden will immediately point out that it is a new day for the United States’ commitment to climate change,” Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics, said in a statement. World Resources Institute. “To regain confidence and credibility, this action must be followed by an ambitious U.S. climate goal for 2030 and significantly increase climate finance for vulnerable countries.”
The need to act has never been more urgent, as the world is on a path of catastrophic warming more than 3 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels if nothing changes. Last week, scientists announced that 2020 was effectively tied to 2016 the warmest year on record. In the United States, last year’s hurricane and forest fires caused one record number of disasters causing at least $ 1 billion in damage.
Biden campaigned on the most aggressive climate platform of any presidential candidate, including his repeated commitment to rejoin the Paris agreement on the first day of his presidency.
Since Biden won the election, the incoming administration called the address climate change among its top priorities and they soon began to lay the groundwork for radical changes.
The transition team announced in November that John Kerry, Barack Obama’s former secretary of state, would hold the newly created post of special presidential envoy on climate. In this role, Kerry will oversee international climate talks on climate, including its participation in the Paris agreement.
In December, the transition team unveiled plans for a newly created White House National Climate Policy Office. led by Gina McCarthy, Former head of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency.
While Democrats now lead the Senate by a narrow majority, Biden is expected to rely more on executive orders and new regulations to enact his climate agenda. Passing bold legislation through a heavily divided Congress, where many Republican members still question the urgency of the crisis and support the continued dependence on fossil fuels, poses an abrupt challenge.
As part of Biden’s initial climate actions, it directs federal agencies to review various climate rules completed under the previous administration for the relaxation of vehicle economy and fuel emissions standards, emissions standards of methane and the efficiency standards of appliances and buildings. It also reinstates the inter-agency working group on the social cost of greenhouse gases and revokes the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.