The United States has officially joined the Paris Climate Agreement, re-energizing the global fight against climate change as the Biden administration projects drastic emissions reductions over the next three decades.
Scientists and foreign diplomats hailed the United States’ return to the treaty, which became official 30 days after President Joe Biden ordered the move on the first day of his term in office.
Since nearly 200 countries signed the 2015 Compact to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change, the United States has been the only country to emerge.
Former President Donald Trump has taken the plunge, saying climate action will cost too much.
Officially, Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nation from the global climate pact lasted only 107 days.
The Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in 2019, but it only entered into force on November 4, 2020, the day after the election, due to provisions of the agreement.
While the return is highly symbolic, world leaders have said they expect the United States to prove its seriousness in returning the nation to the fold.
They anticipate in particular an announcement from the United States in the coming months on its objective of reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases.
Mr Biden has vowed to pave the way for net zero U.S. emissions by 2050.
“Climate change and science diplomacy can never again be ‘complements’ in our discussions on foreign policy,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
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“He is essential in our discussions on national security, migration, international health efforts, as well as in our economic diplomacy and trade negotiations.”
The Biden administration is developing new regulations and incentives to accelerate the deployment of clean energy and switch to fossil fuels.
These measures will form the backbone of their next emissions reduction target which will be announced ahead of the global summit of climate leaders that Biden will host on April 22.
The next United Nations climate conference will take place in November in Glasgow.
Mr. Biden has also signed more than a dozen executive orders related to climate change and mobilized all federal agencies to help shape the government’s response.
Despite the enthusiasm for the United States’ return to global negotiations, climate negotiators say the way forward will not be easy.
Mr. Biden’s climate goals face political challenges in the United States, opposition from fossil fuel companies, and some concern among foreign leaders over the US climate policy about-face.
Reuters / AP
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