On his first day in office, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order, reversing Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
On Friday 19 February, it became official. The US returned to the agreement, having been absent for 107 days. Biden is now expected to prove his intent and commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, by collaborating with other world leaders.
Having departed the agreement officially on 4 November 2020, Biden reiterated his intent to re-join throughout his presidential campaign, and now world leaders hope that he will make up for what former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres described as, “four years of climate inaction.”
Figueres admitted she was worried when the US left the Paris Agreement under the Trump Administration there was fear that other countries would “follow the US in abandoning the climate fight.” The US holds a lot of political influence and there was a fear that countries may feel obliged to follow suit, regardless of their own intentions. Thankfully, for the world, none did.
The immediacy of Biden’s reversal only highlights his approach and dedication to the global issue that is climate change. Biden also plans to share the US’ emission cutting targets before the summit in April, which should dispel any doubts world leaders may harbour, about how proactive the US are being in their fight against global warming.
For at least the four years that President Biden is in office, the US certainly plan to pull their weight with regards to preventing climate change. Biden has announced a plan to spend $2 trillion over four years to increase the use of clean energies in transportation, electricity and building sectors, while rapidly moving away from coal, oil and gas.
These developments will certainly come as a comfort to many who recognise the importance of collaborative summits such as the Paris climate accord, and how influential they can be in the global fight to preserve our futures. There is a strong belief that only global solidarity and collective action can prevent the ravages of climate change: hotter temperatures, rising sea levels, more powerful storms, or droughts leading to food shortages.
With there now being 197 countries joining the accord, there is real hope that together, we can reverse the effects of years of pollution.
There have already been many actions taken across the past decade to start to save the world, such as the increase in electric cars, the emergence of emission reducing technologies in transport, and reduced single-use plastic, to name a few.
Whilst we are moving in the right direction, there is still so much more to be done. Accords such as the Paris Climate Agreement are necessary, and with the US’ support it will be even more effective.