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The Healer-in-Chief?: Biden Presidency and the Climate Agreement

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

The first 100 days of the highest executive authority of any nation is vehemently scrutinized immediately after they are elected. The first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration is being looked at with a lot of anticipation and hope. Biden’s reiteration of his campaign pledge which stated that his administration would set a target of cutting US emissions to net zero no later than 2050, has raised the aspirations of climate activists and leaders of other nations world-wide.

Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S from the Paris agreement took place right after the day of the US elections. This decision had shocked the entire world and had shunned the Climate Ambition Summit. Quite contrary to his predecessor, Joe Biden announced that his country would hold a climate summit of the world’s major economies early next year, within 100 days of Joe Biden taking office, and seek to rejoin the Paris agreement on the first day of his presidency, in an attempt to bolster international climate action. Biden’s assertion on working with other counterparts of major economies of the world has instilled the power in many countries to tackle the menace of climate change with renewed fervor. Biden had stated that he was looking forward to elevate the work that has already been done to reduce emissions and continue to work towards a cleaner and greener future. Biden’s promise to listen to climate change activists and youngsters who have continued to draw attention to the grotesque situation that has engulfed our environment, has signaled a positive change, a change which perhaps includes a lot more dialogue and a lot less clampdown.

Biden’s pledge has been welcomed by António Guterres, the UN secretary general, who has stated that active US participation in the fight against climate change is absolutely necessary to reach the goals.

As required for participation, nations which had signed onto the Paris Agreement have come up with nationally determined contributions (NDCs) which signify their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2030. Although representatives from 70 signatory nations met virtually at the Climate Ambition Summit, there were no significant advancements. Participants are hopeful that the presence of the United States of America would be enough to act as an effective antidote in CoP26 and beyond. More than empty words, the world needs concrete actions to fall back on. It is time to see how many of their campaign pledges the Biden-Harris administration care to deliver on.

Vice-President Biden speaks at the 2015 US-China Climate Leaders Summit, Los Angeles. © Image credit: The White House, creator: David Lienemann

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