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US rejoins Paris Climate Agreement


US rejoins Paris Climate Agreement

Photo Georgina Goodwin
Photo: Georgina Goodwin

The US will officially rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement today.

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 by 196 parties pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Trump administration pulled out of the agreement in 2017, arguing its voluntary requirements were unfair to the US.

Following the agreement, more than 110 nations have announced net-zero targets, most to be achieved by 2050. Likewise, President Joe Biden has pledged that the US will achieve net-zero by 2050, an important step in rebuilding credibility with the international community and signaling Washington’s resolve in the climate fight. With this additional commitment from the US, the second-largest emitter after China, parties that have adopted or are considering net-zero targets represent 63% of global emissions.

If net-zero emissions are achieved, there is still a chance that the global temperature increase may remain below 2 degrees Celcius by 2100. Still, analysts argue success largely hinges on individual domestic policies, which currently lag behind international agendas.

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Expect the US action to be followed by a list of domestic policies that support the goal of achieving net-zero by 2050. While multilateralism currently has fragile prospects, if established policies prove fruitful, positions on cooperation will shift. Still, major US congressional action will be essential for generating sustainable momentum.

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