Biden Administration Will Begin Rejoining Paris Agreement On Climate Change Today
Joe Biden is set to begin rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement in one of his first actions as president, as his administration sets about attempting to reverse four years of environmental rollbacks under Donald Trump.
The move is one of a flurry of executive orders the 46th President will sign just hours after he is inaugurated today, January 20. Other environmental measures to be taken immediately by Biden include revoking the permit for the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline – a cross-border oil pipeline that saw huge protests in the early years of the Trump presidency – and reinstating limits on methane emissions.
President Trump announced he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017, saying that the landmark global environmental pact was ‘designed to kill the American economy‘. As a result of safeguards built in to the treaty by negotiators from the Obama administration when it was passed in 2015, the US only officially left the agreement in November 2020.
The Biden administration faces the difficult task of attempting to restore America’s international reputation on environmental matters, with the country considered by many a ‘pariah’ as the first and only nation to leave the Paris agreement.
The president-elect announced in November that former Secretary of State John Kerry will become the US international climate envoy, and has committed to putting the country back on track to meet its 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target in order to address what he has described as ‘the existential threat of our time’.
Climate experts have welcomed Biden’s commitment to environmental reforms, but many are warning that radical changes will be necessary to undo the damage done by the past four years of inaction.
Helen Mountford, vice-president for climate at the World Resources Institute, told The Guardian:
It will be a starkly different approach to the Trump administration on almost every front.
Science will once again guide America’s policymaking and inauguration day will mark a new era for climate ambition in the US. He will have a lot on his plate but there’s no doubt that Biden intends to make a full court press on climate change.
Other executive orders set to be signed by President-elect Biden this afternoon will bring an end to the so-called Muslim travel ban, and halt construction of the southern border wall. According to reports, Biden’s first action will be to order a national mask mandate in federal buildings, while he will also reverse Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the World Health Organisation.
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