Biden’s decision to re-enter the Paris Agreement is profoundly meritorious and a step in the right direction, but confronting climate change calls for a paradigm shift toward sustainable, renewable, and low-carbon energy sources.
Would the US being the world’s second-biggest producer of carbon emissions be able to achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions well before 2050 is a stretching and overriding feature of policy makeshift under the new president.
At the very start of his administration, Biden pressed the undo button on the outgoing President’s hostile policy and moved to rejoin the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Paris Climate Agreement. The United States officially pulled out on Nov. 4, 2020, a day after the presidential elections but Biden’s U-turn ascertained the fact that time is always right to do what is right.
Restoring the US as a mover and shaker in climate action
The US president has an ambitious set of goals to reach the net-zero by 2050 and to achieve this he’s proposed to make US electricity production carbon-free by 2035. Moreover, Biden aspires to spend some $2 trillion over four years to drive down emissions by upgrading four million buildings to make them more energy-efficient.
He wants to spend heavily on public transport, invest in electric vehicle manufacturing and charging points, and give consumers financial incentives to trade up to cleaner cars. He has appointed former Secretary of State John Kerry as a special climate envoy.
Biden has also upheld the completion of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as symbolic of America’s sustainable energy future. The XL pipeline would have carried oil 1,200 miles from Alberta, in Canada, to Nebraska, in the US and would have reduced the US dependence on Middle Eastern oils.
Biden’s decision to re-enter the Paris Agreement is profoundly meritorious and a step in the right direction, but confronting climate change calls for a paradigm shift toward sustainable, renewable, and low-carbon energy sources. Would the US being the world’s second-biggest producer of carbon emissions be able to achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions well before 2050 is a stretching and overriding feature of policy makeshift under the new president.
Key elements of the Paris Agreement
The Paris climate deal pledged to keep global temperatures well below 2-degree Celcius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times and preferably to 1.5C. Under the agreement, each country is required to set its own emission-reduction targets that would be reviewed every five years. Self-imposed emission reduction targets are known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Meanwhile, the rich countries are also given the extra-burden to help poorer nations adapting to sustainable climate change and switch to renewable energy making the agreement partly legally binding and partly voluntary. Perhaps, the agreement was the first of its kind to commit almost all countries to cut carbon emissions.
Future prospects of US Joining the Paris Agreement
- A leading role of the US in the Paris Agreement would inspire the rest of the world countries to follow the suit and adapt to low carbon emissions targets.
- Experts say that limiting the rise to 1.5 C could prevent small island states from sinking beneath the waves.
- Saving small-islands and coastal lands by limiting the rise in sea levels would help millions of people avoid the impacts of extreme weather and limit the chances of an ice-free Arctic summer.
- The transition towards low greenhouse gas emissions by reducing dependence on fossil fuels would tackle the issue of global warming.
- The Chinese government had already initiated a national action plan to reduce coal consumption, improve air quality, and help the country limit emissions overall. China’s Belt and Road Initiative is symbolic to the clean energy industry. However, the 2021 re-entry of the US would once again create an environment of competition between the world giants to bring down the use of fossil fuels and to take an edge in efforts for making the planet clean and green.
- Besides, the US assisted Green Climate Fund in order to help poorer countries invest in climate solutions would drive climate action overseas and leverage substantial additional financial support from other partner governments.
- The spirit of the agreement also calls for a clean and safer environment which is very unlikely without the plantation of more and more trees. This probably would help the world grow green.
- A willingness to comply with the terms of the Paris Agreement may help the industrial sector to reorient the preferences towards developing technologies, such as carbon finance, sustainable agriculture and biofuels, waste-to-energy, and carbon capture sequestration technologies.
- The U.S. had played a key role in creating the 2015 agreement. It aims to avoid the most catastrophic climate change scenarios by keeping average global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably less than 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100, compared to pre-industrial times. Reportedly the US would be submitting an enhanced NDC that is aligned with the 1.5C temperature goal as soon as possible.
- The Biden’s re-entry into the agreement would encourage countries, including the U.S., to gradually phase out fossil fuels and pursue clean energy. Cutting down on fossil fuels by one of the greatest emitter of pollutant gases would have a considerable impact on cutting overall emissions.
- Under the US patronage, the countries are expected to update their national carbon-cutting plans with tougher targets than they submitted in 2015.
- Furthermore, Biden’s commitment to fighting climate change will likely spur further investments in the renewable energy sector, new global investment in the U.S. has already begun to take shape.
In short, Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement is symbolic of administering the climate emergency and calls for more responsible actions towards climate challenge by countries of the world to save the only liveable planet before it’s too late.