On his first day in the White House as the President, Joe Biden has already begun to initiate and sign a variety of orders to overturn those that were passed during the Trump administration. One of these being getting the U.S. on course to rejoin the Paris Agreement.
Contrary to its name, this agreement is not about Paris, France at all, it is simply where the agreement was signed. As defined by the United Nations, the Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 parties in Paris, France on December 12, 2015 and went into full force November 4, 2016.
The overall goal of this agreement is to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming. When signed, the Paris Agreement was a landmark step in the climate change process because for the first time, the nations came together in a binding agreement to combat climate change as a collective front.
That is why it was such a controversial subject when Trump announced the U.S. would be leaving the Paris Agreement back in 2017. This made the United States the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from the agreement. His main reasoning behind leaving the Paris Agreement was that it was costly, ineffective, and wasted taxpayer dollars. Not only did this decision negatively affect the aims towards reducing greenhouse gas emission and global warming, it also negatively affected America’s standing with other countries.
Andrew Light, a director at the George Mason Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and who was also a senior advisor on climate change during the Obama administration and helped to negotiate the Paris Agreement, released a statement about his thoughts towards the U.S. leaving the agreement.
“Being out formally obviously hurts the U.S. reputation,” said Andrew Light, “This will be the second time that the United States has been the primary force behind negotiating a new climate deal – in the case of the Paris Agreement, we left it. So, I think it’s obviously a problem.”
Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a step towards resolving the climate change crisis. John Kerry, Biden’s climate advisor, released a statement on the importance of rejoining the Paris agreement.
In the statement, Kerry called Trump’s decision to leave the agreement “reckless” and went on to state that “failure is not an option” with proceeding to rejoin the climate change agreement. His plan for a climate change campaign also involves reaching zero global carbon emissions and to decarbonize the U.S. power generation.
The news of the U.S. rejoining the Paris Agreement has been met with both support and contempt online. One Twitter user saying “America shouldn’t spend a penny on this unconstitutional treaty” and another saying “rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news” and a step “to do all we can to safeguard our planet.”
Either way, Biden’s decision to reenter the agreement was accepted by the United Nations. The agreement to reenter shall go into force for the U.S. on February 19, 2021.