United States Re-enters the Paris Climate Accord

The US rejoins the international agreement to fight climate change.


Camille Radhakrishnan

Thousands of Americans have protested to promote more aggressive action on climate change.

On Apr. 22, 2016, 189 countries — including Germany, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States — signed the Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement dedicated to the fight against climate change. During the Obama administration, the United States was one of the prominent supporters of the agreement.

After former President Trump transitioned into office, he announced in June 2017 that the US would be leaving the accord. The decision was highly criticized. Many claimed that leaving the agreement was irresponsible and disappointing. Others worried this move by the US would cause a lack of trust on a global scale. Additionally, there was concern that the United States leaving the agreement would give other significant carbon-emitting countries, such as India and China, no obligation to work towards fighting climate change.

During his campaign for the 2020 presidential election, President Joe Biden announced his ambitious plan for combating climate change. His plan includes making the production of US electricity carbon-neutral by 2035, molding the US into a country of net-zero carbon, and aiding a goal of preventing the global temperature from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius. One of Biden’s first steps towards executing his plan was to re-enter the United States into the Paris Agreement. 

Since his inauguration on Jan. 20, President Biden has held true to his promise. On the night he was sworn into office, Biden signed an executive order to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. The ruling put forth a 30-day process of reentry. On Feb. 19, 2021, the reinstatement of the US into the agreement was finalized. The quick movement towards environmental preservation is seen as a step in the right direction. However, the US has to catch up on lost time. 

Many feel as though the years of the Trump administration were wasted in regards to the environment. During his time in office, President Trump reversed over 100 environmental laws. Under his presidency, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 1.8 billion metric tons. Additionally, it is estimated that over the next decade, Trump’s Clean Air Act could cause thousands more annual deaths in relation to inadequate air quality.

President Biden’s initiative is a step in the right direction. However, rejoining the agreement is not enough to mitigate the climate crisis. America, and its government, will have to remain accountable and continue to further the protection and healing of the planet in accordance with the rest of the world.