On his first day in office, President Biden, signed an important executive order; the United States will formally rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.
The decision to rejoin was a blow to his predecessor, ex-President Donald Trump, who in 2017 announced the United States would withdraw from the agreement.
It was ex-President Barack Obama, the one who in 2015 announced the United States would join nearly 200 nations and commit to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Donald Trump administration, alleged it was unfair that the U.S. had to curb its carbon rule while countries such as India and China could still use fossil fuels.
Many saw a contradiction in this reasoning as the United States is the nation that has historically released the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Nowadays, that position is held by China, the biggest current emitter.
So what is it about the Paris Agreement that nations, including the United States, felt it was a must to join and be a member of?
The Paris Climate Agreement is a global action plan that requires countries to make serious commitments to fight climate change and aims to reduce global temperature rise. It was signed by almost every nation in the world in 2015 to address the negative impact of climate change in the environment and humanity.
Some of the key elements of the Paris climate agreement include:
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 Celsius.
By limiting the rise to 1.5C small island nations could be prevented from sinking and it would also avoid the consequences of extreme weather and limit the chances of an ice-free Arctic summer.
The almost 200 nations that have signed the agreement are responsible for more than 90 percent of global emissions and they have committed to carbon reduction targets.
Each country sets its own emission-reduction targets known as “intended national determined contributions” which are reviewed every five years to achieve better targets.
The United States has an initiative called “Clean Power Plan” that aims to cut carbon pollution from the power sector, it has also committed to also reduce transportation emissions.
As per the agreement, wealthy countries are required to help poorer nations to switch to renewable energy. Developing countries have contributed the least to climate change but are the ones that could suffer the most from it. Therefore, wealthy nations will provide financial support to help them adapt to climate change.
The Paris Agreement has also put in place a number of mandatory and transparent measures in order to monitor and verify the progress toward a country’s climate goals.
It is important for the United States to be a leader at the forefront in the fight for climate change, so the news that the country would be rejoining were welcomed. Particularly because millions of American citizens, and specially the vulnerable, are already suffering the consequences of climate change.
President Biden administration plans to reduce the U.S. domestic climate pollution, reduce the emissions form vehicles, and reduce the energy consumed by buildings and appliances. They have set themselves goals to achieve this in a timely manner.
The consequences of climate change have led to temperature increases and extreme weather worldwide. As a result, the key elements we need to keep on going are suffering; our air, water and food are in danger.
The World Economic Forum points the finger at extreme weather and natural disasters, as the main threat facing humanity in the coming years. Our failure to tackle climate change could truly have devastating consequences for humanity.