WASHINGTON – President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday renewed the commitment of the United States to the Paris Agreement, the international agreement to stave off catastrophic global warming.
The move represents a first step in healing one of the deepest divisions between the United States and the rest of the world after Mr Trump rejected the Paris Pact and appeared to be enjoying his administration’s urge to weaken or reverse any major domestic climate policy close.
Mr Biden has made tackling the climate crisis one of his top priorities, praising that ending the coronavirus pandemic, restoring the economy, tackling racial injustice and curbing global warming will be the top four causes of his administration.
“A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” said Biden in his inaugural address. On climate and a number of issues, he said: “We will fix our alliances and deal with the world again.”
Environmental and foreign policy experts hailed Mr Biden’s first steps as a strong signal that the United States, the greatest contributor to global warming in history, intends to step up its efforts to reduce pollution and restore Mr Trump’s pollution to resume the troubled international order. Under the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 nations have pledged to cut emissions to warm the planet in order to avert the worst effects of climate change.
However, they warned that Mr Biden’s actions on the first day were just a first step – one that must be quickly followed by a series of aggressive domestic policies to reduce the country’s emissions from pollution of the planet from exhaust pipes, chimneys, oil and oil drastically lower gas wells.
The lengthy legal process of reversing most of Mr Trump’s environmental setbacks and replacing them with new regulations could take many years and will likely be littered with political landmines as Republicans or corporate groups may battle new rules.
Mr Biden has set an ambitious goal for the United States to eliminate carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035 and from the entire economy by 2050. However, it is by no means certain that the United States could achieve these goals without new legislation from Congress – a difficult prospect given the razor-thin majority of Democrats with one vote in the Senate.
“Anyone serious about climate change is happy to see us back in the Paris Agreement, but it doesn’t come close to solving the problem,” said Michael Oppenheimer, Professor of Earth Sciences and International Affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which prepares global reports on the state of climate science. “There is still a very big job to be done.”