The president-elect promised to engage with climate activists and renewed his commitment to bring the United States back to the Paris agreement.
Climate summits. There have been a few, but a common complaint is that they generate more hot air than action. However, US President-elect Joe Biden promised to inject new momentum into international climate action by convening the world’s major economies for a conference early next year.
Biden also said he will seek to rejoin the Paris accord on the first day of his presidency and vowed to put the United States on a path to net zero by 2050. This means that starting next year, countries that represent more than two-thirds of emissions will be subject to net zero targets by mid-century.
In a statement, Biden said: “We will elevate the incredible work that cities, states and businesses have been doing to help reduce emissions and build a cleaner future. We will listen and work closely with activists, including young people, who have continued to sound the alarm and demand change from those in power. “
Biden’s words came after 75 nations attended a virtual climate conference the weekend, without the United States, to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris agreement. The conference produced no notable breakthroughs, but there were small victories, with the UK pledging to stop funding fossil fuel development abroad and the EU presenting its plan to cut emissions by 55 percent by 2030.
António Guterres, UN Secretary General, welcomed Biden’s statement. He said it sent an “important signal” to the rest of the world, which has seen the current US administration roll back environmental protections and withdraw from the Paris agreement.
“We look forward to a very active US leadership on climate action from now on, as US leadership is absolutely essential,” Guterres said. “The United States is the largest economy in the world, it is absolutely essential to achieve our goals.”
Main Image: Yellowstone National Park by Nicolasintravel