On Nov 5, President elect Joe Biden had said he would immediately return the United States to the Paris accord if elected president, and if sources are to be believed, he might actually do so.
According to a report in the Washington Post, Biden plans to sign up executive orders to get the US back in the Paris agreement as well as the WHO.
“Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it,” had tweeted Biden, who, would take the presidential oath on January 20.
Biden has proposed a $1.7 trillion plan to take the US, the world’s second-biggest carbon emitter, to net-zero by 2050.
Trump had aggressively championed the fossil fuel industry, questioned the science of climate change and weakened other environmental protections.
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to have a chance of keeping end-of-century warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), global emissions need to reach net-zero around mid-century.
The target warming level was chosen to avoid triggering a series of catastrophic climate tipping points that could force humanity to inhabit only the planet’s far northern and southern latitudes.
Niklas Hohne, a climate scientist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a member of a simulation group called Climate Action Tracker, wrote on Twitter that “Biden’s climate plan alone could reduce temperature increase in the order of 0.1 degree Celsius.
Environmentalists say Trump’s announcement that he would withdraw from the Paris agreement three years ago made it easier for countries such as Australia, Saudi Arabia and Brazil to soften their own ambitions.
Many of the ravaging impacts of climate change are already felt today: loss of sea ice, with the Arctic expected to be ice-free by mid-century; accelerated sea-level rise, longer and more intense droughts and heatwaves, stronger hurricanes and shifts in precipitation patterns.
Small island nations face being completely submerged.
Even if the US rejoins, it will face a credibility gap – after all, it was also an architect of the Kyoto agreement that it never ratified.
That makes it crucial to ensure a shift towards climate action is permanent and not something a future Republican administration will undo, said Light.
“We know from polling that acting on climate is not this red versus blue, Republican versus Democrat, issue out there in the real world,” he said. A recent Pew poll found that more than 80 percent of Americans agree that humans contribute to climate change, including a plurality of Republicans.
Key to this plan will be Biden delivering on his pledge of massive economic stimulus and job creation.
There are already signs that market forces are starting to tip the energy balance from fossil fuels to renewables, but the transition has a long way to go.
Despite Trump’s efforts to revive the coal industry, more capacity was retired under his presidency than during Obama’s second term, while renewable energy hit record highs in production and consumption in 2019.
Natural gas, driven by hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” continues to drive the energy mix, accounting for 35 percent of production.
Biden views the fuel as a “bridge” to renewable energy and says he won’t ban fracking.