The United States under Joe Biden is on course to return to the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016, with the newly elected president signing an executive order to re-enter the pact after the country had withdrawn from it a few months ago.
In 2017, the now-former President Donald Trump had announced that the U.S. would exit the pact over worries of undermining the country’s economy, a long process that was formally completed last November.
The Paris Agreement is a legally binding accord signed by 195 countries worldwide aimed at tackling the global warming effect by reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases on the planet. The tangible goal of the accord is to limit global temperature rise below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels.See Also: Climate Change News
“Reaching net zero global carbon emissions as early as 2050 will take a wholesale transformation of the global economy,” John Kerry, Biden’s Special Climate Envoy, said. “All nations must raise ambition together – or we will all fail, together. Failure is simply not an option.”
Experts, however, have warned that the path for the U.S. toward achieving its climate goals under the Paris accord is bumpy.
“It is going to take the entire government, working with the private sector and the non-governmental sector, to attack this problem,” John Podesta, Clinton’s administration chief of staff and adviser to former President Barack Obama, said.
Among others, the U.S. will have to submit a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) plan to illustrate how the country will reduce its gas emissions by 2030.
“The easy part is rejoining Paris,” Alden Meyer, a senior associate with think-tank E3G, told the Financial Times. “The next step is putting forward an ambitious NDC for 2030, which has some reality to it for domestic action”.
The return of the United States to the Paris accord could also spark competition between the superpower and other signatories of the pact. EU officials have expressed concern that the return of the U.S. will denote the bloc’s attempt to reduce its emissions within the accord requirements.
“it is so good that Joe Biden has announced that the U.S. will rejoin the Paris Agreement immediately,” the European Commission’s president Ursula von der Leyen, said.
“But it is also a further reason for Europe to speed up its efforts, to get moving and to keep the first-mover advantage,” she added. “This is important, so I like competition, it is good competition, it is positive competition when it comes to the green economy.”
The formalities of the U.S. rejoining the Paris agreement are expected to be completed in mid-February.