LWASHINGTON — The United States is back in the Paris climate accord, just 107 days after it left.
While Friday’s return is heavily symbolic, world leaders say they expect America to prove its seriousness after four years of being pretty much absent. They are especially anticipating an announcement from the U.S. in the coming months on its goal for cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases by 2030.
The U.S. return to the Paris agreement became official Friday, almost a month after President Joe Biden told the United Nations that America wants back in. “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself,” Biden said in his inaugural address. “A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear now.”
Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing the pullout ordered by his predecessor, President Donald Trump. The Trump administration had announced its withdrawal from the Paris accord in 2019 but it didn’t become effective until Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, because of provisions in the agreement.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that the official American re-entry “is itself very important,” as is Biden’s announcement that the U.S. will return to providing climate aid to poorer nations, as promised in 2009.
“It’s the political message that’s being sent,” said Christiana Figueres, the former United Nations climate chief. She was one of the leading forces in hammering out the 2015 mostly voluntary agreement where nations set their own goals to reduce greenhouse gases.
One fear was that other nations would follow America in abandoning the climate fight, but none did, Figueres said. She said the real issue was four years of climate inaction by the Trump administration. American cities, states and businesses still worked to reduce heat-trapping carbon dioxide, but without the federal government.
“From a political symbolism… (Read more)
President Biden tells allies as U.S. officially rejoins the Paris climate accords: "We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. This is a global, existential crisis. And we'll all suffer the consequences if we fail." https://t.co/H7Agd87e2A pic.twitter.com/bXuRduoc86— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 19, 2021