On Feb. 19 the Biden administration made an announcement that they officially rejoined the Paris Climate Accord. The United States is the second largest country behind its rival China on greenhouse gas emissions as a way that we warm the planet. The four-year gap when the US was outside of the Paris Climate Agreement was caused by former President Trump making the US withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017. The reason for Trump’s decision was to exempt the US from having to cut its global carbon emissions. Trump also ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap the Clean Power Plan and decreased regulation in many areas.
Biden picked former Secretary of State and presidential candidate, John Kerry, to be his climate envoy. With the recent winter storm that caused chaos in Texas last week, Kerry has mentioned that he wants to prevent a repeat of the unprecedented event by helping the US climate return to normal the best we can. The world is warming up because of the emission of greenhouse gas from virtually almost every kind of vehicle that relies on gasoline for power. Global warming has its consequences. It can result in stronger storms, droughts, make ocean levels higher and could potentially make certain places uninhabitable, leading to mass forced migration of people across the world. Kerry has also mentioned that scientists have 12 years to devise a plan to prevent the worst climate-related catastrophe. With the withdrawal from the accord, there are only nine years left to complete the plan. When the US joined the accord in April 2016, Kerry would end up seeing a rise in global temperature by 3.7 degrees or more. The climate accord was named for the city of lights where an agreement was made back in 2015.
When the Trump administration rolled back around 100 environmental regulations, all forms of renewable energy, including wind turbines and solar panels, started to become cheaper and began providing record amounts of energy within the United States, effectively putting coal plants out of business. Tesla is not the only company making cars that run on batteries; General Motors will transition most of their vehicles to electric by 2035. Kerry recommended getting as much clean energy as fast as possible. The plan could help hire new workers but could also cause layoffs. Very little action has caused too much hot air. One of Biden’s future plans is to race to a more ambitious emission target. The journey for that will not probably begin until April, and net-zero emissions will not be in effect until at least 2050.
For the Biden administration, this is not likely to be an easy target. As Bill Gates mentioned, it appears that Biden has chosen the right people to tackle climate change. Clearly the Democratic Party is serious about fighting climate warming. While rejoining the accord was an easy decision for Biden, the fight will probably get tense. Climate change policies can be costly, and this could lead to Biden raising the cost of carbon, while the Trump administration did not put a lot of value on carbon emissions. Biden also mentioned about cleaning up the electricity grid in all fifty states by 2035. Although a worthy cause, any environmental policies which bring us a step closer to the stipulations of the Paris Agreement will be a challenge in terms of consensus and in terms of cost.