When he became President, one of the first things that Joe Biden did was bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement. Trump decided to withdraw from the agreement in 2017, claiming in a televised announcement that the withdrawal was a result of his “solemn duty to protect the United States and its citizens.”
The withdrawal of the US’ membership received heavy criticism from religious organisations, businesses, political leaders, scientists and citizens of the United States. Trump’s discourse ignored the positive impact of the Paris Agreement on the environment, the economy, and people. Therefore, Biden’s re-establishment of the United States into the Paris Agreement is a declaration of cooperation, recognition, and willingness to change.
We're back in the Paris Climate Agreement.— President Biden (@POTUS) January 21, 2021
Primarily, the Paris Agreement has multiple environmental benefits, not only for the US but for the world. The Paris Agreement is a commitment to tackling a precarious global threat; climate change. The goal is to limit global warming to “well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius.” Countries will work together to support those which need help financially, technologically, or in capacity-building to tackle climate change.
The Paris Agreement is a declaration of teamwork in tackling an increasingly dangerous and terrifying global threat. Countries will put forward their climate commitments, whilst ensuring that other countries in the agreement stick to their goals.
It is the first international climate agreement that includes cooperation with developing and developed nations to tackle climate change
The agreement is also a declaration of accountability and transparency. For the first time, the agreement ensures that the biggest global greenhouse emitters – China, the US, India, Mexico, Europe, and Japan – will take accountability and change.
The Paris Agreement is a partially-legally binding agreement, therefore by the US joining it, it opens itself up to critique and scrutiny over the setting of goals, even if the achievement of those goals is not necessarily legally binding.
Additionally, not only is the agreement beneficial to Americans, who overwhelmingly support it, it is also the first international climate agreement that includes cooperation with developing and developed nations to tackle climate change.
The Paris Agreement also has various economical benefits. Since the Paris Agreement will increase investment and momentum in clean energy, this will create more businesses, jobs, and consequently, help the economy. In 2020, there were 3.3 million people working in clean energy in the US, and working towards the commitments from the Paris Agreement would further increase this number.
Not only will the Paris Agreements benefit workers, but it will also benefit businesses through innovation. Business leaders are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of the Paris Agreement, as not joining can open the US to severe climate impacts, which already results in over $2 trillion worth of damage. The US’ membership in the Paris Agreement will drive sustainable economic growth by creating more jobs, providing stability and security in society, and encouraging innovation and competition in the business market.
Health benefits will also be achieved through the Paris Agreement. Not only is the agreement good for local communities in the United States, but it is also good for global communities. According to the WHO, there are 4.2 million yearly deaths due to air pollution. Joining the Paris Agreement will not only help tackle these figures by helping decrease the number of premature deaths, which is said to increase to 250,000 people a year, it will also help prevent diseases related to air pollution, including strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma, reducing the strain on medical services.
Re-joining the Paris Agreement is the US’ declaration of wanting a cleaner, more stable, and prosperous society
The Paris Agreement also helps smaller and more vulnerable global communities, and the ones that have contributed the least to climate change yet are affected the most by it. Smaller countries have been disproportionately affected by climate change, having to deal with consequences such as rising sea levels, floods droughts, and water.
By the US joining the Paris Agreement, Biden is acknowledging the US’ role in the Climate Crisis and re-introducing accountability in tackling issues they hold partial responsibility for. Through the Paris Agreement, the US is working with other affluent nations to contribute finance and support to countries most impacted by climate change. It is in the US’s best interest to tackle the crisis to protect itself from the associated national and international security issues that come with a changing climate.
By helping less affluent countries tackle climate change, the US will maintain stable international relations. Disruptions caused by climate change can be destabilizing and threatening, therefore addressing the source of these issues will increase security and stability.
Joining the Paris Agreement and ensuring that all participating countries adhere to their commitments is in the US’s national interest. The Agreement aim to minimise the catastrophic impact of climate change on global communities, by helping reduce environmental damage, creating more jobs and businesses, and decreasing premature deaths. Re-joining the Paris Agreement is the US’ declaration of wanting a cleaner, more stable, and prosperous society.
Featured image from Joe Biden on Flickr. Image licence found here. No changes made to this image.
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