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US is once again a part of Paris Agreement3 min read

February 21, 2021 3 min read

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US is once again a part of Paris Agreement3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A total of 107 days after the US left the Paris Agreement, under former president Donald Trump, it officially rejoined on Friday. Hours after he was sworn in on January 20, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to start the 30-day process for the US to re-enter the global pact.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is a pact within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance. It was signed in 2016.

But what does the agreement entail, you ask? Well, the long-term goal is to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, and to make efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. This, as per experts, will considerably reduce the risks and impact of climate change. The agreement is also about making sure that countries are well-equipped to handle the effects of climate change, by ensuring enough finances and resources are reserved for this purpose. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty adopted by 196 countries, or parties, as they are referred to.

Each country is expected to plan and regularly report their contribution to the cause.

Why did the US leave?

The Paris Agreement is a very important treaty, so why did the US decide to leave it? On June 1, 2017, then-President Donald Trump announced that the US would end all participation in the Paris Agreement. According to him, being part of it meant the economy of the country would be hugely impacted. While some decision-makers were in agreement with Trump’s views, many others were hugely disappointed.

A protest against the US’ decision to exit the Paris Agreement

The US’ withdrawal would impact other countries, as it would end the $3 billion funding towards the Green Climate Fund. The Fund was established by the UNFCCC to help poorer and developing countries in reducing and managing the adverse effects of climate change.

This would affect research work being done on global warming, and decrease overall chances of reaching the goals set by the agreement.

On November 4, 2019, the administration gave a formal notice of intention to withdraw, which takes 12 months to take effect.

U-turn: Why did the US rejoin?

This was one of Biden’s first agendas after being made president, and is seen as a significant step towards changing or reversing the decisions made by the previous government.

Biden plans to host a climate summit with other world leaders on Earth Day – April 22.  At this summit, he plans on rolling out his plans to on reducing carbon emissions by 2030.

Alok Sharma, the President of 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, welcomed the US’ return to the Paris accord on Friday. He told CNN that he looks “forward to working as a matter of urgency with President Biden’s administration and governments around the world, to deliver decisive climate action.”

Sources: CNN, The Guardian, Wikipedia

Images: AP, AFP, Getty Images, Freepik