Neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. Biden’s white house has changed the fact that the United States will formally withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement on November 4. The incident comes at a time when the global green recovery is booming, and the outcome of the presidential election will directly determine the pace at which the United States responds to the climate crisis.
The U.S. formally withdraws from the Paris Agreement, and the outcome of the election will determine the pace of the response to the climate crisis
In 2015, 196 countries and territories signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, which entered into force on November 4, 2016. The Paris Agreement sets the long-term goal of global response to climate change: to limit global temperature increases to pre-industrial levels of 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and to strive to limit temperature increases to pre-industrial levels of 1.5 degrees Celsius;
But mr. Trump has been skeptical of climate science throughout his presidency, seeing global climate change as a “scam.” In June 2017, Trump announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, citing an “unfair economic burden” on the United States, saying that rejoining the Paris Agreement or even concluding a new climate agreement was conditional on “fairness to the United States.”
The United States began the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement in November 2019 and formally submitted its withdrawal notice to the United Nations. Under the Paris Agreement, three years after its entry into force (i.e. 4 November 2019), the parties are not able to formally request withdrawal, and the withdrawal process takes one year to enter into force.
Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, offered very different views on climate, the environment and energy. Biden set out ambitious climate and clean energy plans and promised to return to the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. But even if the re-entry process is launched, it will have to wait until next year.
Some analysts believe that the longer the United States stays outside the Paris Agreement, the more difficult it will be to re-engage. Mr. Trump’s re-election would further derail the federal government’s collective response to the climate crisis.
A group representing institutional investors who manage $30 trillion in assets in the U.S. and Europe issued a statement urging the U.S. to rejoin the agreement as soon as possible, Reuters reported. The group, called institutional investors in climate change, includes BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager. It warned that the US risked falling behind in the race to create a cleaner global economy after withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.
Despite the Trump administration’s setbacks in climate policy over the past four years, climate action from local governments and businesses continues, with U.S. states, cities, businesses and universities reaffirming their support for the Paris Agreement in many ways.