December 12, 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement. On the same day, U.S. President-elect Biden said in a statement, “On the first day of my presidency, the United States will rejoin the Paris Agreement.
I will immediately start working with the rest of the world and do my best, including convening leaders of major economies and holding climate summits within 100 days of the presidency. .”
The U.S. government officially notified the United Nations on November 4, 2019, calling for withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to deal with global climate change. According to the regulations, the withdrawal process takes one year.
On November 4, 2020, the United States officially withdrew from the Paris Agreement, becoming the only party to date to withdraw from the Agreement.
Bob Percicepp, chairman of the nonprofit climate organization and the Energy Solutions Center, has criticized the U.S.’s “out of group chat” and called it a “shameful retreat”.
At present, what impact will Biden’s announcement of rejoin the Paris Agreement or bring to the United States?
What did Biden say?
On December 12th local time, Biden tweeted that he would return to the Paris Agreement. Biden said, “Five years ago today, the world gathered to adopt the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In 39 days, the United States will rejoin, and we will unite the world to promote us to make greater and faster progress and actively respond to the climate crisis.”
On December 12, 2015, the 195 member states of the United Nations adopted the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Climate Summit with a view to jointly curbing the trend of global warming, which entered into force in November 2016.
According to the regulations, in order to avoid the sea level rise predicted by climate models becoming a reality, the parties to the Paris Agreement need to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change and reduce carbon emissions. By the end of this century, the increase in global temperature was limited to “less than 2 °C, preferably not more than 1.5 °C”.
However, in his first year in office, U.S. President Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which he believed would affect the U.S. economy by forcing the United States to reduce carbon emissions.
Trump said, “The Paris Agreement is a complete disaster for the United States. Its purpose is not to save the environment, but to kill the American economy. I refuse to give up millions of jobs in the United States, nor will I give trillions of dollars to those who cause pollution and damage the environment.”
On November 4, 2019, the U.S. government officially notified the United Nations to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Finally, the United States officially withdrew from the agreement on November 4, 2020, thus becoming the only country among all signatories to withdraw from the group.
What processes are required for a return to the Paris Agreement?
Under U.S. law, the Paris Agreement is an executive agreement, which means that Biden does not need to obtain Senate approval if he wants to return to “group chat”.
According to the US media CNBC, after Biden successfully took office as President of the United States, he only needs to send a letter to the United Nations hoping to return to the Paris Agreement, and then he can officially return to the “group chat” in 30 days.
Once the United States formally returns to the Paris Agreement, it needs to set and strictly implement carbon emission reduction targets, and timely report to the United Nations on the achievement of the targets.
However, CNBC notes that despite Biden’s intention to focus on the climate change agenda, he still faces an “uncertain future”.
Former U.S. President Obama promised to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by another 26% to 28% from 2005 by 2025.
However, during his 2017-2019 term, Trump repealed at least 128 environmental regulations, including relaxing car combustion regulations and repealing the Clean Electricity Plan, which has led to no substantial progress in the United States’ carbon emissions reduction goal so far.
What will be the impact of joining the “group chat” again?
According to the Washington Post, the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement may not be able to fulfill its commitment to reduce carbon emissions, resulting in a “great reduction” of the effect of concerted global efforts, which will require the United States to take better measures within the framework of the Paris Agreement, the most intuitive impact of which is to achieve emission reductions. Objective.
According to Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris’ website, Biden plans to achieve the goal of “net zero emissions” of greenhouse gases by 2050 and lead the United States to a clean energy revolution, achieve a 100% clean energy economy, etc.
At present, China has announced that it will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Japan and South Korea have also announced carbon neutrality goals by 2050, and the United Kingdom has also set its own emission reduction targets.
This means that much remains to be done if the United States wants to catch up with the emission reduction process of other countries.
Meanwhile, the return of the U.S. to “group chats” means that the U.S. will work with countries around the world to take steps to mitigate the effects of climate change, which may rebuild trust between the United States and other States parties, according to CNBC.
Natalie Mahawald, a climate change scientist at Cornell University, said that “the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement is one of the key factors for putting the agreement back on track and is crucial to reducing the impact of global climate change”.
What “group chats” will Biden return to?
During his four years in Trump’s administration, he has withdrawn from “group chat” many times.
On November 22, local time, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that the United States officially withdrew from the Open Skies Project, which provides that States parties can conduct “unarmed” aerial reconnaissance of each other’s territory and collect data related to military forces and activities.
Against such a serious background of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, on July 6 local time, the United States officially notified the United Nations of its decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization.
In addition, the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and UNESCO.
According to several U.S. media reports, Biden is expected to win 306 electoral votes in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and is expected to officially enter the White House in January 2021.
This is a major turning point for the “group chat” that Trump once withdrew, and it also means that Biden may “apply to join the group chat” again after taking office.
Biden could rejoin the World Health Organization in addition to the Paris Agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
On November 24th local time, Biden announced a “100-day plan” in an interview with NBC.
Biden stressed that his first priority after taking office was to deal with the epidemic and would immediately seek to “restore relations” with the World Health Organization.
Analysts pointed out that even under the leadership of the Biden administration, it is difficult for the United States to return to those “group chats” that have withdrawn from the world, and it is difficult to continue to dominate the global stage, and it will take a long time to eliminate the bad impact of “retreating from the group”.