Joe Biden Says If Elected He Would Rejoin Paris Agreement to Curb Climate Change After Trump Withdraws
President Donald Trump on Wednesday fulfilled his promise to remove the U.S. from the world’s most prominent climate change agreement — but if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election, the Democratic nominee has repeatedly said he’ll immediately rejoin the pact.
The U.S. became the only country to back out of the Paris Agreement so far, The New York Times reports.
The agreement, issued under executive order rather than as a formal treaty, was initiated under President Barack Obama in 2015. The international pact between almost 200 countries aims to lower their carbon emissions and therefore avoid the Earth’s temperature rising 2 degrees Celsius — or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, a spike the planet’s scientists believe will lead to more extreme natural disasters, food shortages and mass migration because of changing environments.
Trump, a climate change skeptic despite the robust scientific consensus otherwise, has said the agreement does more to harm the country's economy than it would help environmentally. His administration began officially backing out of the deal on Nov. 4, 2019, and the year-long process concluded Wednesday.
Biden, however, has long said if he wins the 2020 election he’ll quickly move to rejoin as early as February of next year.
"Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement,” Biden, 77, tweeted on Wednesday. “And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it."
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The Democratic nominee's promise comes as the presidential election results remain unclear Thursday.
Election officials are still counting ballots in some swing states, as Trump, 74, and Biden have been waiting on the results, along with the rest of the country — and the world.
Trump has complained the Paris Agreement was disadvantageous to the U.S. and would cost too many jobs. Instead, the president championed using the same fuels — such as coal and oil — that the agreement seeks to have countries reduce.
One State Department official under the Obama administration called Trump’s decision a “train wreck of US diplomacy," while foreign officials have also expressed criticism.
“That the country that has contributed the most to climate change is now formally outside of the Paris Agreement, and may remain so for at least the next four years, is an appalling thought,” Lois Young, the Belizean ambassador to the United Nations, told the Times. (Nations like Belize are at the greatest threat of subsiding under rising sea levels in the coming years, due to the planet’s rising temperature, the Times reports.)
Climate advocates in the U.S. have also voiced extreme displeasure with the president’s withdrawal while sounding hopeful Biden would soon rejoin the pact.
"No country can withdraw from the reality of climate change, and no country bears greater responsibility, or possesses greater capacity, to lead the world in confronting this reality head-on," Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, told USA Today. "Other nations thankfully remain committed to the Paris Agreement, and we are confident that the United States will in time recommit itself to this vital global cause.”