On his first day in office, President Joe Biden took action to rejoin the Paris Agreement, and the United States officially became a party again on February 19.
“The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented framework for global action. We know because we helped design it and make it a reality. Its purpose is both simple and expansive: to help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming and to build resilience around the world to the impacts from climate change we already see,” announced Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a written statement.
The Paris Agreement entered into force in 2016. It was signed by over 190 countries and established a goal of holding the global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the time, using the year 2005 as a baseline, President Barack Obama submitted a target to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent in 2025.
However, on June 1, 2017, citing a need to protect the U.S. economy and workers, then-President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
The Biden Administration sees things differently. “Green economies are going to generate a remarkable number of new jobs,” said John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, at the January 27th virtual meeting of the Davos World Economic Forum:
“The EU anticipates 2 million new jobs. Here in the U.S. until COVID we had 5 years of steady growth in clean energy employment with over 3.3 million workers put into jobs across our country. India has seen a fivefold increase in clean energy jobs over the same period. And that’s just a taste of the marketplace without limits that awaits us if we get serious.”
“You have seen and will continue to see us weaving climate change into our most important bilateral and multilateral conversations at all levels. In these conversations, we’re asking other leaders: how can we do more together?” said Secretary of State Blinken.
“Climate change and science diplomacy can never again be “add-ons” in our foreign policy discussions. Addressing the real threats from climate change and listening to our scientists is at the center of our domestic and foreign policy priorities. It is vital in our discussions of national security, migration, international health efforts, and in our economic diplomacy and trade talks,” he said.
“We are reengaging the world on all fronts.”