US rejoins Paris Climate Agreement

Olivia Wood, Staff Writer

We have all heard the warnings. Presumably, the world only has a decade to prevent irreversible climate damage. No other country has contributed more to global warming than the United States, and, now we are rejoining international efforts to quash the damage that has been created by years of carbon emissions. 

President Biden wasted no time upon his arrival in office. So far, he has signed nearly thirty Executive orders, more than any President has in their first two weeks. One of the first orders re-aligned the country to the Paris Agreement, which is the largest effort working to combat climate change worldwide. Yet, many of us wonder what that could possibly mean for the future.

The 2015 agreement’s foremost objective is to eventually obtain a lower global temperature. By 2050, countries intend to reach a peak of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. From there, a conscious effort will be made to decrease the global temperature to what it was before the Industrial age. 

Six years ago, for the first time, nations were legally bound in attempts to battle the risks of global warming. The Paris Climate Agreement contains the signatures of 175 parties, including China and the United States, which together make up forty percent of global emissions. Furthermore, the accord states that countries need to “check-in” every five years to ensure they are doing their part, as well as gradually escalating their efforts as the years go on.  

In 2017, former President Donald Trump became the first (and only) to withdraw from the agreement, claiming the strain on the economy outweighed the possible benefits. Companies had to adapt to new regulations, all of which cost more money. The withdrawal of the United States–a critical nation– left more work for the other countries, burdening poorer or less-developed ones especially.  

Joe Biden’s decision to rejoin the accord was expected, yet still monumental. He declared fighting the climate crisis as a top priority. Biden aims to restore the country’s credibility as a forefront leader in climate action.  

During his campaign, Joe Biden made an ambitious promise to cut all gas emissions from national electricity sectors by 2035. That means there will be a complete switch to renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.). The President signing the order binds him to his pledges and holds him accountable for continuous action.  

Not only is Biden’s decision a step to prevent further environmental damage, it is a crucial reminder to the rest of the world: the United States is changing once again.