Although the current President, Donald Trump, is trying to demand a recount, the U.S. President-elect is Joe Biden, who will enter the Oval Office on January 20th of the new year. After four years of President Trump denying the reality of climate change, it will be good to have an administration fighting for progress. However, in the last few years, many environmental agreements and legislation have been reversed or rejected, which means that the Biden-Harris administration has a lot of catching up to do in order to get the United States back on track. The question today is, will it be enough?
Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it. https://t.co/L8UJimS6v2
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 5, 2020
On November 4th, the U.S. officially became the only nation to leave the Paris Climate Agreement. Since then, Joe Biden has pledged to reinstate the United States into the agreement on his first day in Office. Although this is fantastic news, many argue that this is, in fact, an easy process. The challenge will be getting the nation back on track to the goals that the U.S. had promised during the original signing. Nat Keohane, the Senior Vice President for climate at the Environmental Defence Fund, said that the “target has to put us on a path to 100 percent clean economy, net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, that’s the overall target. And that means by 2030, we need to be 45 to 50 percent below 2005 levels of pollution across the economy.”
Mr. Biden has made a lot of promises regarding his climate action plan. Since his campaign, he’s made more promises regarding his actions within his first day of office. As we’ve discussed previously, Biden’s $2 trillion plan invests into clean energy to begin transitioning America away from fossil fuels, with an end goal of being free of greenhouse emissions by 2035 in the energy sector and utterly emission-free by 2050. He also pledged to rejoin the Green Climate Fund, from which Trump retracted the U.S., and which is a fund that helps developing countries fight climate change. The President-elect also plans to place limits on methane pollution from oil and gas operations, require public companies to disclose climate risks within their operations, protect biodiversity, and conserve 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.
Many people have raised concerns about how much of these goals will Biden get passed with a Republican-controlled Senate. However, the administration will still be able to pass most of the emission-based policies with the EPA and Clean Air Act that is still in place. The 46th President of the United States will have to make equally ambitious pledges at next year’s U.N. climate summit to regain the trust of many nations that lost hope in the U.S. over the last few years due to the lack of climate action from one of the world’s biggest polluters. Furthermore, we hope that the President-elect fulfills these promises and more while keeping in mind that the havoc caused by climate change is intersectional and international. All people have to be kept in mind and provided aid when it comes to the action he plans to take.
There is fear in this back-and-forth battle we have seen regarding climate action in the United States with the last few Presidents this country has seen in the White House. It is my hope that the change that is made during this new administration is a permanent one that will be for the better for this planet and its people. There are so many people worldwide and across this nation that are already feeling the devastation caused by years of inaction. We are running out of time. President-elect Joe Biden, I sincerely hope you are watching and listening to the people of the world and carefully, but with urgency, lead this country during these next four years towards a future that we can be proud to pass on to the next generations.
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Photo: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash