US officially returns to Paris climate accord

World

A makeshift globe burns in front of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Activists of the so-called “KoalaKollektiv”, an organization asking for climate justice, protested with the burning of the globe against the ECB’s climate policy. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

(NewsNation Now) — The United States is back in the Paris climate accord, just 107 days after it left.

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.

Former President Donald Trump declared in 2017 the country would leave the agreement because he believed it would bring economic disadvantage – but the formal process meant the exit took effect only last November, one day after Biden’s win.

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.

University of Maryland environment professor Nate Hultman, who worked on the Obama administration’s official Paris goal, said he expects a 2030 target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions between 40% and 50% from the 2005 baseline levels.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate energy panel, has criticized Biden for rejoining Paris, tweeting: “Returning to the Paris climate agreement will raise Americans’ energy costs and won’t solve climate change. The Biden administration will set unworkable targets for the United States while China and Russia can continue with business as usual.″

A longtime international goal, included in the Paris accord with an even more stringent target, is to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. The world has already warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since that time.

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