The April observance of Earth Day is more than a celebration of nature and our environment. It also marks the rise of the environmental movement. Ultimately, that first Earth Day in 1970 culminated in the passage of sweeping laws for the protection of air and water quality, and conservation of endangered species of animals, and the establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
This was a series of bold steps toward mitigating the problem of environmental degradation. This year, on Earth Day and the weeks leading up to it, the Biden-Harris administration announced another bold step forward—a raft of new policies designed to tackle the global climate crisis. They include a series of initiatives to combat deforestation at home and around the world, as well as commitments to protect the ocean by creating two new marine sanctuaries; to protect fish populations; to decarbonize the shipping sector; to tackle plastic pollution; and to promote offshore renewable energy deployment.
These initiatives join a long list of measures undertaken by the Biden-Harris Administration in its first 14 months. They include the U.S.-China Joint Glasgow Declaration to accelerate climate actions in the critical decade of the 2020s ; partnerships with vulnerable countries to help them build resilience against the impacts of climate change; and convening a virtual climate summit with 40 world leaders in an effort to rally the world to tackle the climate crisis and meet the demands of science.
"This Administration has made the climate crisis a foreign policy priority by working to scale up global ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, infusing the climate dimension into our broader policy, and significantly increasing investments in climate adaptation and resilience. Thanks to U.S. leadership at COP26 in Glasgow, the world is much closer to keeping a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on global temperature rise within reach,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Earth Day.
“We also released the United States Long-Term Strategy under the Paris Agreement, which outlines how we will achieve a net-zero economy by 2050, and, in partnership with the EU, we enlisted more than a hundred countries in the fight to reduce methane emissions — regarded as the single most effective near-term strategy to limit warming,” he said.
“We are able to reflect on the past year as the period when we gained momentum in our global commitment to foster a healthier planet.”