The United States officially rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement a month after Biden assumed office and signed an executive order to rejoin it. In a videoconference with European Leaders, the president warned that the world is in an “existential crisis” and that “all of us will suffer if we fail.”
Biden insisted that the world can no longer delay implementing actions that counter climate change. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that climate change and science diplomacy would never again be add-ons in foreign diplomacy discussions.
Blinken said in a statement:
“Now, as momentous as our joining the Agreement was in 2016 — and as momentous as our rejoining is today — what we do in the coming weeks, months, and years is even more important… We are reengaging the world on all fronts, including at the President’s April 22nd Leaders’ Climate Summit. And further out, we are very much looking forward to working with the United Kingdom and other nations around the world to make COP26 a success.”
As per the climate agreement, nations worldwide — except China — are expected to curb greenhouse gas emissions once every five years. The ultimate aim is to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
During the Obama administration, the United States had committed by 2025 to cut down carbon emissions up to 28 percent. Biden plans to hold a climate summit on April 22, Earth Day, where he will reveal America’s goals for reducing carbon emissions by 2030 in front of global leaders.
Climate agreement’s effectiveness questioned
The U.S. had officially withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement in 2019 under the Trump administration. Former President Donald Trump had called the deal a “total disaster” for the American economy and accused it of being too soft on China’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, Trump warned that the agreement forced American taxpayers to absorb the cost of reduced economic production, lower wages, fewer factories, and lost jobs.
The pact also stipulates that developed nations provide financial resources to developing countries to help them achieve climate change goals. Consequently, the U.S. might lose its energy independence. Not only will the U.S. economy lose money, but it will also have to pay out additional money on top of the losses.
Nicolas Loris from the Heritage Foundation told The Epoch Times:
“It will be very costly for American families and businesses because 80 percent of our energy needs are met through carbon-emitting conventional fuels… Regulating them and subsidizing alternatives is going to harm American families and taxpayers… Because there is really no teeth to the Paris climate accord, developing countries are getting a free pass in terms of their emissions… It’s likely that the Paris climate accord is not going to reach its intended goal.”
According to data from the Union of Concerned Scientists, China is the top carbon emitter globally. It accounts for 28 percent of global emissions; the United States is second at 15 percent; India is third at seven percent.
President Xi Jinping has promised that China will achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060. However, China has no plans to reduce carbon emissions before these dates and no penalties if future goals are not met.
There are serious doubts about whether the targets set under the Paris agreement will have any impact on climate change. Bjorn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, recently stated that even if the agreement is fully implemented, it will only reduce global temperature by 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s far too little to stop the purported catastrophic impacts of climate change.
He says that if every single rich nation on earth were to stop carbon emissions for the rest of the century, it would only cut down temperatures by 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit. However, Lomborg said China switching from coal to gas would significantly help the treaty achieve its CO2 emissions goal.
Lomborg also criticizes the labor involved in the solar energy sector, explaining that 38 people are needed in the solar industry to produce the same amount of power that a single person can produce in the gas sector.