Hours after being sworn in as president of the US, Joe Biden made his first vital strikes within the White Home, together with signing an govt order to rejoin the Paris local weather settlement.
Consequently, the US will formally return to the historic dedication to restrict warming to nicely under 2 levels Celsius in 30 days. The US left the settlement on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the presidential election, beneath the path of former president Donald Trump.
“A cry for survival comes from [the] planet itself,” Biden stated in his inauguration speech, “a cry that may’t be any extra determined or any extra clear.”
The Paris settlement has all the time been extra a symbolic dedication than a substantive one. For the Trump administration, ditching the accord indicated that the US was relinquishing its role as a local weather chief to as an alternative double down on being a nation that depends on fossil gas extraction. Now, beneath the Biden administration, the transfer — a part of a flurry of early actions reversing Trump’s agenda on every part from immigration to the pandemic response — symbolizes that the nation is extra dedicated than ever to tackling the local weather disaster.
Even earlier than Biden signed the chief order, the local weather group began heaping on the reward.
“Welcome again to the Paris local weather settlement,” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron.
“In rejoining the Paris settlement, President Biden will instantly sign that it’s a brand new day for US engagement on local weather change,” Helen Mountford, vp of local weather and economics on the World Assets Institute, stated in an announcement. “To regain belief and credibility, this motion have to be adopted by an bold US local weather goal for 2030 and considerably scaled up local weather finance for susceptible international locations.”
The necessity for motion has by no means been extra pressing, because the world is on monitor for a catastrophic warming of more than 3 degrees Celsius in comparison with preindustrial ranges if nothing modifications. Final week, scientists introduced that 2020 successfully tied 2016 as the warmest year on record. Within the US, final yr’s barrage of hurricanes and wildfires resulted in a record number of disasters causing at least $1 billion in damage.
Biden campaigned on essentially the most aggressive local weather platform of any presidential candidate, together with repeatedly committing to rejoining the Paris settlement on the primary day of his presidency.
Since Biden gained the election, the incoming administration named addressing climate change among its top priorities and instantly started laying the groundwork to enact sweeping modifications.
The transition workforce introduced in November that John Kerry, Barack Obama’s former secretary of state, would serve within the newly created place of particular presidential envoy on local weather. On this position, Kerry will oversee the nation’s worldwide local weather talks, together with its participation within the Paris settlement.
Then in December, the transition workforce unveiled plans for a newly created White Home Workplace of Home Local weather Coverage, headed up by Gina McCarthy, Obama’s former Environmental Safety Company head.
Although the Democrats now lead the Senate by a slim majority, Biden is predicted to rely extra closely on govt orders and new rules to enact his local weather agenda. Passing daring laws by way of a sharply divided Congress, the place many Republican members nonetheless query the urgency of the disaster and assist continued reliance on fossil fuels, is predicted to be a steep problem.
As a part of Biden’s preliminary local weather actions, he’s directing federal businesses to overview numerous local weather guidelines finalized beneath the earlier administration enjoyable car gas financial system and emissions requirements, methane emissions requirements, and equipment and constructing effectivity requirements. He’s additionally reestablishing the Interagency Working Group on the Social Value of Greenhouse Gases and revoking the presidential allow for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.