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The Paris Climate Agreement: What is it and Why Does It Matter?

On Joe Biden’s first day in office, the President signed an executive order for the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

189 countries have officially ratified the agreement, but in November of 2019, Donald Trump began the process of withdrawing from the treaty entirely - claiming that it would cost too much money and too many American jobs. On June 1st, 2017, Trump made a statement where he claimed that “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers — who I love — and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.” The process of withdrawing from a treaty is a long procedure, so the United States did not officially withdraw until November 4th of 2020. 

Despite the claims made by Trump and other prominent leaders of the Republican party, The International Labour Organization (ILO) has said that shifting to a greener economy can help to create around 15 to 60 million new jobs across the globe by the year 2030. Additionally, The ILO believes that tens of millions of poverty-stricken workers could be pulled out of poverty in that same amount of time.  

President Biden’s new plan includes a vigorous pledge for the United States to become carbon neutral by the year 2050, and that includes stiffened auto emissions standards and ramping up the use of renewable energy sources.

Climate change is an irreversible enemy that will cause harm to life on Earth as we know it. If we do not take action to save our planet, we could be experiencing once in a lifetime natural disasters at a rate even more alarming than what we see today. While rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement is one step in the right direction towards tackling the world’s mutual adversary, additional, more vigorous steps must be taken to help heal the vast damage that has already been done to our world.

Bella is a sophomore at Michigan State University studying journalism with a concentration in international reporting!
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