Of the several executive orders passed immediately after taking over the President of the US, Joe Biden has committed to rejoining the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The President also blocked an oil pipeline project, and ordered a halt to Arctic drilling. Conservators say it is just the beginning for the man who has promised to undo four years of environmental harm caused by his predecessor, Donald Trump.
Biden’s toughest task is to win back the confidence of the international community by setting tangible goals for cutting down carbon emissions on the way to becoming ‘net zero’ by 2050.
Biden needs to make good of his promise to realise the $2 trillion climate plan while making sure the transition is concrete enough so that it can’t be rapidly dismantled under any future President.
The new President has also shown his intent to lead the world in mitigating effects of climate change by promising to bring together leaders of major economies for a climate summit within 100 days of his inauguration.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the action and the prospect of “the leadership of United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero” emissions, calling on the US leader to adopt an “ambitious” plan to fight global warming.
Meanwhile, Biden scrapped the Keystone XL pipeline connecting the Alberta oil sands to coastal refineries in Texas — a move that threatens to strain ties with Canada. However, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to “work together to advance climate action and clean economic growth.”
The new President also placed a temporary moratorium on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where the previous administration had issued leases on its last full day in office.
In addition, the US government has imposed strict methane limits on new oil and gas infrastructure, besides gearing federal contracts towards renewable energy and zero-emissions vehicles.