WASHINGTON -- When the Trump administration officially pulled the United States out of the international Paris Agreement on Nov. 4, 2020, Joe Biden promised that the United States would rejoin the climate accord upon his first day in office. On Wednesday, Biden followed through on that commitment. Via executive order, President Biden ensured that the U.S. will once again be part of this ground-breaking agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In their "First Things to Fix" report, released last month, PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center called on Biden to prioritize rejoining the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. The report presented 20 actions for the Biden administration to undertake in early days of office to undo the Trump administration’s rollbacks of environmental laws and protections.
Flora Cardoni, PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center’s field director, issued the following statement
“By rejoining the Paris Agreement on day one, President Biden is sending a crystal clear signal to all Americans and to the world that the United States will once again lead when it comes to solving the climate crisis. By prioritizing this critical international commitment, the president is proving that he’s listening to the American people, including the more than 70 percent of Pennsylvanians who say they want their government to take climate change seriously.
“We are thankful for this first action, because it comes with little time left to spare. The natural disasters in 2020 -- from the repeated storms pummeling the Gulf Coast to the devastation of more than 10 million acres burned by wildfires -- show that we are changing the Earth’s system in unprecedented and unsustainable ways.
“While we are grateful for this action, we also know it is only the start. We need to fully power our country with clean, renewable energy and we must do it quickly and thoroughly. With President Biden leading the way, Congress should step up as a full partner and pass bipartisan, comprehensive climate legislation that meets the targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions that the scientific community has told us we must achieve. The days of dirty, fossil fuel-burning, 19th century technology must be numbered in order to reach a cleaner tomorrow and ensure that future generations of Pennsylvanians have a livable climate to call home.
“Here in Pennsylvania we’ve made some progress towards meeting the goals set in Paris, with Governor Wolf’s executive order last year to create Pennsylvania’s first greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Those targets follow the goals of the Paris Agreement: a 26-28% reduction below 2005 levels by 2025 and 80% reduction by 2050. But to stop the worst impacts of climate change, we need stronger policies to lower emissions and transition the Commonwealth and the nation away from dirty fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. We’re excited to see the Biden administration starting that work on day one and are looking forward to working at every level to push forward the 100% renewable energy future we all need and deserve.”
The PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a statewide non-profit environmental group dedicated to protecting our water, air and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. To learn more about this or other priorities for the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, visit our website at www.PennEnvironmentcenter.org.