Washington (AP) – On day one, Joe Biden as the new US president began the United States’ return to the Paris climate accord.
As announced, the 78-year-old has reversed one of his predecessor Donald Trump’s most controversial decisions in the early hours of his tenure. Biden signed a corresponding document to the United Nations in Washington. This should be deposited with the world organization the same day. This would mean that the US would be an official part of the treaty again 30 days later.
The United States officially withdrew from the historic United Nations Convention to Limit Climate Change in early November – a year after the U.S. government formally withdrew. The United States has the second highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world, after China, with significantly fewer inhabitants. Biden says he wants America to become a leading nation in the fight against global warming.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed: “I am delighted with the steps that President Biden has taken to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said. In doing so, the United States joined the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people who took ambitious steps to tackle the climate crisis.
The new US president has recently confirmed several times that he wanted to convene a climate summit for the major economic powers in the first 100 days of his term. That the new US government wants to place a special focus on the fight against the climate crisis is also apparent from a personnel decision Biden: with former US Secretary of State John Kerry, a political heavyweight takes the position of special climate envoy in the White House National Security Council in.
Simultaneously with the return to the Paris climate agreement, Biden planned further steps. This also includes revoking a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline to Canada. In addition, all parts of the government apparatus would be tasked with identifying environmentally hostile political decisions by the Trump administration and taking appropriate action. This also includes environmental standards for fuels and emissions.
The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit climate change to well below two degrees. So far, however, states’ plans to save greenhouse gases are nowhere near enough to meet the two-degree target. The effects of the climate crisis are already being felt worldwide – including a rise in sea levels, a higher risk of drought, heat waves, severe storms and floods, but also the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps or the death of coral reefs.
US President Donald Trump had rolled back many political guidelines on climate and environmental protection since taking office in January 2017. He described the Paris Climate Agreement as “very unfair and one-sided” and harmful to the US economy.
In contrast, his successor Joe Biden had announced several times that he would rejoin Paris, tighten up US climate goals and anchor the goal of making the US economy climate neutral by 2050 – that is, the bottom line is that there will be no additional greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. The European Union also wants to be climate neutral by 2050.