Biden Pledges To Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement On His First Day Of Presidency

At the time of this writing, the United States still finds itself in the midst of a close and uncertain presidential election. With votes still being counted in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Alaska, Georgia, and North Carolina, enough electoral room still exists for either Former Vice President Joe Biden or President Donald Trump to win.

And while the results could have vastly different implications for the COVID-19 pandemic response, the economy, and racial justice, the role of the nation in future plans to combat global climate change is also at stake.

For that reason, alongside a recent development in the U.S. involvement with the Paris Climate Agreement, Biden is now announcing a new pledge upon his election.

Firstly, it's worth exploring some background on what exactly the nations involved in the Paris Accord are agreeing to do.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, this agreement sees — at present — 188 nations pledging to limit greenhouse gas emissions among other tactics with the goal of ensuring that global temperatures do not rise up to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels within the coming century.

As Al Jazeera reported, this seemingly small number represents conditions that will otherwise reach a global tipping point that sees humanity retreat to the planet's northernmost and southernmost areas in search of habitable areas.

Although the United States initially ratified this agreement on September 3, 2019, it wasn't long before they would no longer be party to it.

As the UNFCCC stated, the U.S. Government announced their formal intention to withdraw from the agreement on November 4 of that year, which came into effect Wednesday.

As NPR reported, this was in accordance with an intention that President Trump expressed as early as 2017.

Considering that the United States is one of the world's largest emitters of carbon, this withdrawal comes as a significant move.

As NPR reported, it also occurred despite the fact that climate change has been identified as a key factor influencing the risk and extent of the wildfires that have affected the American west coast this year.

These considerations led the American Public Health Association to call this withdrawal "unconscionable" alongside the following statement: "The move only serves to relinquish U.S. leadership on climate change and ignores the significant risks of a go-it-alone approach to a global threat."

And it's a matter that Biden seeks to address if elected president as he has tweeted that his adminstration will rejoin the Paris Agreement in 77 days.

However, Al Jazeera reported that should this official statement of the U.S. government's willingness to return occur after his potential inauguration, there's no way to stop the nation from being left out of a climate summit the UN and Britain are planning to hold on December 12.

This re-entry into the Paris Agreement is expected to occur alongside a $1.7 trillion plan Biden is proposing that seeks to bring the United States to net-zero emissions by 2050.

h/t: Al Jazeera, NPR

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