US Rejoins Paris Climate Accord

The United States on Friday officially rejoined the 2015 Paris Agreement, reversing a Trump administration decision to leave the climate pact aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.“The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented framework for global action — we know because we helped design it and make it a reality,” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement. “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.”In 2017, then-president Donald Trump announced the U.S. would pull out of the landmark agreement, saying it was in the United States’ “economic interest to do so.” But terms for leaving the accord meant it did not go into effect until Nov. 4, 2020 – one day after the U.S. presidential election won by Joe Biden.On Jan. 20, shortly after being sworn-in, President Biden signed a stack of executive orders, including the instrument to re-join the Paris Agreement. It was sent to the United Nations, where treaties and agreements are “deposited” with the secretary-general, and now, after a 30-day wait, the U.S. officially becomes a party to the agreement once again.FILE – President Joe Biden signs a series of executive orders, in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 28, 2021.The 2015 Paris agreement, signed by virtually every country in the world, aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit the planet’s temperature increase during this century to 2 degrees Celsius, while working to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees.
Speaking a day before Washington’s official return, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that the U.S. decision “strengthens global action” on mitigating global warming.
“President Biden’s commitment to net zero emissions means that countries producing now two-thirds of global carbon pollution are pursuing the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” Guterres said.Currently, the United States is not on track to meet its Paris pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.
President Biden has pledged to take robust action to meet those goals. He appointed former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry – who helped negotiate the Paris deal in 2015 – as the first-ever presidential envoy on climate and made him a part of his National Security Council.Today’s the day. We’re officially back in the Paris Agreement – again part of the global climate effort. No country can fight this fight on its own. We look forward to a productive year and a successful #COP26 in Glasgow. #GoodToBeBack— Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry (@ClimateEnvoy) February 19, 2021Kerry will join the U.N. chief on Friday for an event to mark the U.S. return to the pact.Biden has also said his administration will hold a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, as part of its climate diplomacy. 

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