The Paris Agreement on climate change has not formally been rejoined by the United States. The agreement was formed to tackle the problem of global warming so that the potentially catastrophic impacts of it can be avoided.
According to the agreement, signed by almost 200 countries, governments all around the world have committed to reduce emission of greenhouse gases in their respective countries so that the global temperature rise can be kept below 2 degrees Celsius – and ideally below 1.5 degrees Celsius, in comparison the average global temperature of the pre-industrial period.
“The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented framework for global action. We know because we helped design it and make it a reality,” US Secretary of State Antony 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.”
One of the top priorities for US President Joe Biden was to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Biden had signed an executive order that started a period 30 days for re-entering the agreement just a few hours after he had assumed office at the White House.
Blinken said that climate change will also become one of the key elements of the Biden administration’s foreign policy and it will be included in the country’s most important bilateral and multilateral conversations.
“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.
It was under the former President Donald Trump that the US had exited the Paris Agreement in November following a year-long waiting period. His intent to formally withdraw from the Paris agreement was originally announced by Trump in 2017 and his administration formally sent a notice for same in 2019 to the United Nations.
In the Paris agreement, the US had committed to reducing its carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2025 when compared to 2005 levels. But analysts noted that at the current pace, the country will be able to attain only a 17 per cent reduction.
The fact that climate change is real is shown by the extreme winter weather conditions in Texas as well as in many other areas of across the central and southern United States, said White House adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall on Thursday.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration16 climate-driven disasters that cost at least $1 billion each have taken place in 2020 alone.
United States has been the highest emitter of cumulative carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the world since the start of the cumulative carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the mid-1800s. According to climate scientists, while the US is reducing its carbon emissions, the rate is not fast enough for it to avoid catastrophic warming.
The slow progress in carbon emission reduction is partly because of the roll back of carbon pollution limits from power plants, cars, trucks and fossil fuel operations by the former Trump administration. In the first two years of the Trump administration, there was a slight increase in emission in the US.
(Adapted from NPR.org)