Energy Efficiency, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables - January 20, 2021
President Biden rejoins Paris Agreement
U.S. President Joseph R. Biden fulfilled his promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. One of 15 executive actions signed from the Oval Office on January 20, the action signals a major policy reversal following four years during which the Trump administration rejected climate science and rolled back environmental regulation to maximize fossil fuel development.
Biden supports a goal for the U.S to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a report from Reuters, which notes that the path will not be easy. “We got off track very severely for the last four years with a climate denier in the Oval Office,” said John Podesta, an adviser to former President Barack Obama who helped craft the 2015 Paris Agreement. “We enter the international arena with a credibility deficit.”
The U.S. has been the only country to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a move made by Trump in 2015, who argued it was too costly to the U.S. economy with little tangible benefit.
Brian Deese, Biden’s incoming director of the National Economic Council, told Reuters that the U.S. hopes to encourage other big emitters to also “push their ambition, even as we have to demonstrate our ability to come back on the stage and show leadership.” Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been appointed as Biden’s international climate envoy and is expected to begin meeting with his global counterparts in the coming weeks.
Biden’s orders will also require government agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel efficiency standards and methane emissions curbs.
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