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Joe Biden restores US to the Paris climate accord

After only being in office for a few hours, US president Joe Biden has already rolled out numerous executive orders to undo Trump’s policies. First up – the climate crisis.

No matter which side of the Trump fence (or border wall) you sat on during his time in office, you can’t deny that he was disastrous for the US climate change effort.

In August 2020, tracking website Brooking estimated that Trump’s administration had undergone 74 actions that weakened US environmental protection policy, ranging from dismantling the clean power plan to loosening emission standards for cars and trucks. One top climate scientist went so far as to say that a second Trump term would mean ‘game over’ for the climate crisis in early October of last year.

Perhaps the biggest upset during Trump’s time in office, however, was his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, which came into effect on November 4th, 2020.

All 197 members of the UNFCCC signed the original pledge back in 2016, but America’s sudden exit was a significant blow that disrupted its immediate effectiveness. Without the US, global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and keep global temperature increases below a 2°C threshold would be extremely difficult.

Thankfully, Biden has made it clear he intends to jump right back into the swing of renewable energy reform over the next four years, and things are off to a very quick start.

He’s already rolled out a flood of executive orders on his first day in office, including the blockage of the Keystone XL pipeline and officially re-joining the Paris Agreement with a formal notice of 30 days.

Biden and the outgoing president are about as polar opposite as you can get when it comes to climate change.

Trump contested against the repeated, stark warnings from experts that things are getting worse, not better. California fires rage yearly, 2020 was the hottest year on record, and extreme weather events are becoming increasingly common, yet Trump’s approach was to push on with economic growth and ignore the science.

During Trump’s time in office, the White House scrubbed any mention of climate change clean from its website. Today, Biden has pushed it to the top of the priority list, coming second only to the pandemic.

He’s promised swift, sweeping changes, with huge investment in renewable energy and is expected to convene an international climate summary in the spring. Gina McCarthy is Biden’s top climate adviser, and she’s already stated that Biden intends to reverse ‘more than 100’ climate-related policies created by Trump.

We should expect the changes from the US to be big and immediate, which is great news for the majority of young Gen Zers and Millennials that worry significantly about their futures in a warming world.

There’s a lot more to come, and a ton of new reasons to be hopefully about the US and climate change – for the first time in a long time.