United States Officially Rejoins Paris Agreement


By Bennett Oghifo

The United States of America has officially rejoined The Paris Agreement on climate change, following an instrument signed by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

“On January 20, on his first day in office, President Biden signed the instrument to bring the United States back into the Paris Agreement. Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States officially becomes a Party again today,” the U.S. Department of State said a statement at the weekend.

“The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented framework for global action. We know because we helped design it and make it a reality. Its purpose is both simple and expansive: to help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming and to build resilience around the world to the impacts from climate change we already see.

“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.

“You have seen and will continue to see us weaving climate change into our most important bilateral and multilateral conversations at all levels. In these conversations, we’re asking other leaders: how can we do more together?”

The government stated that “Climate change and science diplomacy can never again be “add-ons” in our foreign policy discussions. Addressing the real threats from climate change and listening to our scientists is at the center of our domestic and foreign policy priorities. It is vital in our discussions of national security, migration, international health efforts, and in our economic diplomacy and trade talks.

“We are reengaging the world on all fronts, including at the President’s April 22nd Leaders’ Climate Summit. And further out, we very much looking forward to working with the United Kingdom and other nations around the world to make COP26 a success.”

U.S. President, Mr. Joe Biden, as the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, had promised the country would re-join the global accord if he won the election.

The U.S. government, led by former President Donald Trump, exited the Paris Agreement last November after it served a year’s notice of withdrawal from the Accord through a statement issued by the then Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, on November 4, 2019. The statement said the U.S. was exiting the Accord, because pledges the nation made under the Agreement imposed unfair economic burden on American workers, businesses, and taxpayers. “Today the United States began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Per the terms of the Agreement, the United States submitted formal notification of its withdrawal to the United Nations. The withdrawal will take effect one year from delivery of the notification,” Pompeo had said in his statement.

But now the U.S. is back, as promised by President Biden. The Paris Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the agreement aims to increase the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, and at making finance flows consistent with a low green-house gas (GHG) emissions and climate-resilient pathway. To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate mobilisation and provision of financial resources, a new technology framework and enhanced capacity-building is to be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives. The Agreement also provides for an enhanced transparency framework for action and support.