Joe Biden, US President, has taken executive action to bring the US back into the Paris climate agreement, signaling a big break with Donald Trump’s administration over handling the climate crisis and a return to multilateralism.
The move fulfills one of Mr Biden’s key campaign pledges as he fought off liberal challengers during the Democratic primaries and sought to mobilize many of his party voters who became increasingly concerned about the impact of climate change.
He came like Mr. Biden debuted in the Oval Office, wearing a mask, with a stack of executive commands on his desk to begin rolling out the policies of the previous administration. Mr Biden refrained from making in-depth remarks when signing the shares, a sign of the quieter approach to policymaking he should take.
“I thought there was no time to wait. Get to work immediately, ”he said in a brief comment. “There is no time to start like today.”
According to an administration briefing note, Biden signed the “instrument” necessary to join the agreement, which will pave the way for the United States to officially join the pact within 30 days.
America’s return to the Paris climate agreement had been widely anticipated and will be welcomed by many countries around the world. John Kerry, former secretary of state and now presidential envoy for climate change, said the move would restore “America’s credibility and commitment – setting a floor, not a ceiling, for our climate leadership.” .
The Paris agreement, signed by nearly 200 countries, aims to limit global warming to well below 2 ° C thanks to a concerted effort by each country to reduce emissions.
In addition to seeking to reverse Mr. Trump’s contempt for tackling climate change globally, he has also pledged to reverse the environmental deregulation pursued by his Republican predecessor in his country.
One of Biden’s first executive actions on Wednesday included removing the license for the Keystone XL pipeline from the United States to Canada.
Environmental groups and some business groups have applauded the decision to join the Paris climate accords, but Republicans in Congress have said energy costs will rise as a result of the move, with the new president feeling the first repercussion of its political program.
“The Biden administration will set unachievable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue their business as usual. This will lead to higher electricity bills and higher prices at the pump, ”said John Barrasso, Republican Senator from Wyoming, in a statement.
Other important executive steps Mr. Biden took on Wednesday included the rescinding of the entry ban on citizens of some Muslim-majority countries controversially introduced by Mr. Trump in 2017, and a move to put a end to the American withdrawal from the World Health Organization.