US will rejoin Paris agreement and host climate summit in Biden’s first 100 days

  • 12/15/2020 8:28 pm ET Jordan Davidson
Joe Biden speaks.

Screenshot / YouTube

The US will rejoin the Paris climate agreement on the first day of Joe Biden’s presidency. The President-elect made this announcement as world leaders gathered in a virtual climate summit to mark the fifth anniversary of the landmark accord.

Biden will then host a climate summit with the world’s major economies during the first 100 days of his presidency. Biden has called the climate crisis an existential threat and has tapped former Secretary of State John Kerry as his chief climate envoy.

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More than 99% of climate scientists agree that the planet is warming dangerously and humans are the cause. That’s a key reason literally every nation in the world agreed back in 2015 that we must act now to cut carbon pollution.

“The United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement on day one of my presidency,” he said, as the AP reported. “I’ll immediately start working with my counterparts around the world to do all that we possibly can, including by convening the leaders of major economies for a climate summit within my first 100 days in office.”

Flickr / COP PARIS

The Paris Agreement, the world’s most comprehensive climate agreement, aims to stave off the worst effects of the climate crisis by drastically slashing greenhouse gas emissions to keep global heating from rising above 1.5°C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial times.

“[People] will ask: have we done enough to put the world on track to limit warming to 1.5°C and protect people and nature from the effects of climate change?” said Alok Sharma, the UK’s business secretary, as The Guardian reported. “We must be honest with ourselves – the answer to that is currently no.”

Right now, the world is 1.2°C (2.2°F) above preindustrial times. That has led to record wildfires in Australia, the Amazon, and the US, and Canada. It’s triggered floods in Bangladesh and East Africa and record heatwaves that have caused dramatic ice-melt in the Arctic.

The sobering reality that the world might miss its 2030 targets — which will lead to increased severity, frequency, and duration of heatwaves and extreme weather events — ushered in new pledges to move towards clean energy at this weekend’s virtual summit.

A photograph of Xi Jinping speaking at an event


China’s president, Xi Jinping, pledged to reduce carbon emissions at a faster rate. China also committed to up its share of renewable energy consumption to 25 percent by 2030, according to the UN. The European Union pledged to reduce emissions by 55 percent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. That’s an increase from its previous 40 percent reduction in emissions pledge. Also, 24 major economies have now made plans to reach carbon neutrality.

While the US has not formally committed to carbon neutrality, Biden pledged to put the country on a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, arguing that an investment in green infrastructure is good for both the economy and the US workers.

“We’ll do all of this knowing that we have before us an enormous economic opportunity to create jobs and prosperity at home and export clean American-made products around the world,” Biden said in his written statement.

Biden’s announcement was praised by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who urged world leaders to declare a “climate emergency.”

“If we don’t change course, we may be headed for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than 3 degrees (Celsius) this century,” he said, as the AP reported. He then addressed Biden’s commitment, adding, “It’s a very important signal. We look forward to a very active US leadership in climate action from now on as US leadership is absolutely essential. The United States is the largest economy in the world, it’s absolutely essential for our goals to be reached.”

Biden’s efforts are a good start, but we need to keep holding our elected leaders accountable. We need continued action on a government level which is why Science Moms encourages you to reach out to your leaders and tell them exactly how important climate action is to you and your family.

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This article was produced and distributed in partnership with Potential Energy Coalition in support of the Science Moms.

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