United Nations, February 19th – The United Nations Foundation and the United Nations Association held an online event on the 19th to welcome the United States to officially rejoin the Paris Agreement on the same day.
United Nations Secretary-General Guterres attended with former Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. President’s Special Envoy for Climate Issues.
In June 2017, former U.S. President Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement; on November 4, 2020, the United States officially withdrew.
U.S. President Biden signed an executive order on the day of his inauguration on January 20 this year, announcing that the United States will return to the Paris Agreement and begin the 30-day process of rejoining the Paris Agreement.
Guterres said that the absence of key participants over the past four years has left the Paris Agreement blank, and the missing link weakens the whole agreement.
So today we celebrate the return of the United States, and also celebrate the Paris Agreement as its founders envisioned, as a whole, “Welcome Back.”
Guterres said that the Paris Agreement is an important historical achievement, but the commitments made by countries so far are still not enough to reverse the climate crisis, and these commitments have not been fulfilled.
He said that the past six years have been the hottest six years since human weather records. Carbon dioxide emissions hit a new high.
Fires, floods and other extreme weather events are increasing around the world. Without immediate change of course, human beings may face the catastrophic consequences of rising temperatures by more than 3 degrees Celsius this century.
Guterres said that the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Glasgow, England, in November, will be a key meeting, and the decisions made by governments will determine the future of mankind and the planet.
He said that the Paris Agreement is “a covenant we have made with future generations and the entire human family”.
Kerry said that the United States returned to the Paris Agreement with humility and ambition.
He said that although the previous president had let the United States withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the vast majority of Americans have always been committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The countries around the world must jointly raise requirements and set higher goals together. “Otherwise, we will fail together.”
In April 2016, then Secretary of State Kerry, with his then-two-year-old granddaughter, signed the Paris Agreement in the United Nations General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters.