On his first day at office, Joe Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement, which meant a lot to the world, since former President Donald Trump had made it one of his campaign mottos to withdraw the US from the pact that had just been signed by Barack Obama.
The Paris Agreement was signed on December 12th, 2015 and began to take effect on November 4th, 2016; signed by 195 countries and rectified by 147 of those. This document has as its primary goal to contain global warming by reducing the emission of Greenhouse Gases. To do so, developed countries should set goals to reduce their emissions and also encourage and support developing countries to do the same.
Before being able to remove the US from the Paris Agreement, Trump was already taking measures to weaken his country’s environmental legislation. When he finally removed the United States from the pact, he made it clear that he didn’t see climate change as an important issue, which meant a lot, since the country is the second biggest polluter in the world and a very influential one too.
After Biden’s inauguration as President of the United States, one of his first moves was to put his country back into the Paris Agreement, and by doing so he showed the world that, despite his predecessor, the US is still committed to environmental issues. In addition, now that the US is back in the pact, countries – such as Brazil – that considered leaving under Trump’s influence will feel discouraged to do so.
Biden also demonstrated his interest in the issue by naming John Kerry as his representative in the climate change discussions. This decision meant a lot because Kerry is a former Massachusetts state senator and an important name among the Democrats. He is also an experienced politician who worked for several years on international matters as Obama’s Secretary of State and started a climate initiative to end carbon emissions worldwide by 2050, called World War Zero.
In Brazil, this action also had a good repercussion. Carlos Roberto dos Santos, PhD in Public Health and current Director of Engineering and Environmental Quality at CETESB (São Paulo State environmental agency), says that “at this moment, of intense climate and public health crisis, the return of the US to the Paris Agreement is an extremely important attitude, in order to mitigate the critical events related to climate change, which have already been experienced in the American territory and lead to the loss of lives and a prejudice of billions.”
Also, according to Rogerio Menezes, secretary of Sustainable Development in Campinas – a city in the state of São Paulo – and board member of the Brazilian Green Party (PV), “after the climate denial present on Trump’s administration, we again have the United States as an ally in advancing public policies to stimulate cleaner production and energy transition to sustainable sources.”
Therefore, the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement changes the way climate issues are viewed all around the world and highlights the importance of fighting global warming sooner rather than later. Joe Biden’s policies are, both environmental and political, since he, as US President, can promote major changes and encourage other nations and leaders to do the same.
The article above was edited by Giulia Lozano Pacini.
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