Biden Recommits the U.S. to Paris Climate Agreement
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 20 to rejoin the Paris climate agreement. This was President Biden’s first major action to tackle climate change as he continues to bring the largest team of climate change experts ever into the White House.
For several months, the U.S. was the only country in the world that wasn’t a party to the accord.
Former President Trump removed the U.S. from the non binding climate accord in 2017. Trump argued that these commitments were unfair to the U.S. because it would negatively impact the U.S. economy and increase job losses.
“According to an analysis by National Economic Research Associates (NERA), meeting President Obama’s commitment under the Paris Climate Accord would cost the United States nearly $3 trillion by 2040,” the White House blog read from June 2017.
This swift action to undo Trump’s policies is meant to show a sense of urgency from the Biden administration to enact his administration’s Democratic agenda, a stark contrast to Trump’s conservative policies. Biden addressed the climate crisis as one of the many challenges the U.S. faces in his inaugural address.
“A cry of survival comes from the planet itself,” said Biden. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear.”
Biden promised to take action on climate change quickly, which marks the beginning of a major policy reversal after the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks.
A coalition of state governors and local leaders continued to support the international deal’s goals despite Trump’s removal of the U.S. from the treaty. California hosted an international climate change conference to support the Paris Agreement in Sep. 2018.
The U.S. was not immediately re-added to the accords after Biden signed this executive order. It will take time for the U.S. to be officially added as a signatory to the accords.
Additional parts of Biden’s climate plan calls for the electric sector to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. This requires a massive investment in a variety of clean energy technologies, which the Biden administration expects to create many new jobs.
A group of Republican senators called on Biden to submit his plan to re-incorporate the U.S. into the accords to lawmakers for “review and consideration,” moments after Biden signed the executive order. These political divisions over climate change policy will likely be addressed by the Biden administration throughout his presidency.