What does that mean and how will it affect our future?
As part of his plan for the first 100 days of his presidency, America’s new President Joe Biden has rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement is an international treaty with the goal to combat climate change. He signed the executive order as one of his first initiatives as president. This act is significant because the United States is the second leading country in carbon dioxide emissions. These emissions are the major cause of global warming. Since the United States is one of the countries that has the largest negative impact on the environment, it has the most responsibility and potential for change. Every decision our government makes concerning the climate is important. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the United States is from burning fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation” (1).
So, what is Biden’s plan now and what impact will signing the Paris accords have? Biden’s bold plan to combat the issues our environment is facing is called the Clean Energy Revolution. Based on the Green New Deal, this plan strives to reach a net-zero on carbon emissions by 2050, achieve a 100% clean energy economy, rally the rest of the world to combat climate change, and much more. According to the official Joe Biden website, the Biden plan will “make a historic investment in our clean energy future and environmental justice paid for by rolling back the Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations at the expense of American jobs and the environment,” (6).
The main importance of rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement is the United States’ acknowledgment of its carbon footprint and its plans to make improvements along with other major countries. Approximately 197 countries, including China, India, and the United Kingdom have signed the Paris Climate Agreement and submitted reports with plans to reduce gas emissions (8). Like the Biden plan, the Paris Climate Agreement endeavors to reach a climate-neutral world through considerable social and economic changes. Countries that are participating in the agreement submit NDCs (nationally determined contributions) and LT-LEDS (long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies) outlining their goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions. From there, developed countries are encouraged to provide other nations with help to meet these goals through financial, technological, and capacity-building means. Some critics are skeptical over whether rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement will have any effect on the environment. Whether or not these plans will have positive results is yet to be seen.