US makes welcome return to Paris climate agreement 107 days after it quit

Return comes almost a month after the Joe Biden administration told the UN that America would rejoin the agreement

Joe Biden
Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin was ‘counting on being able to split NATO’ and instead, 'NATO has never been stronger, more united, in its entire history than it is today’ | Photo: Twitter

The United States rejoined the Paris climate agreement on Friday, 107 days after it left. The return comes almost a month after the new Joe Biden administration told the UN that America would rejoin the agreement.

The new president signed an executive order on his first day in office reversing the withdrawal ordered by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

Trump sought to reverse his predecessor Barack Obama’s decision to join the accord and announced America’s departure in 2019. He claimed that the agreement would “undermine” the US economy, and put America “at a permanent disadvantage”. But that decision did not become effective until November 4, 2020.

Also read: Biden revisits Trump’s environment policy to undo 4 years of harm


Todd Stern, Obama’s chief negotiator on the agreement, told CBS News that it was important at the time for the US to take the lead and set a good example for other nations.

“Some countries pick a target that’s really easy and then they pat themselves on the back when they meet it,” Stern said. “We took the opposite approach.”

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The agreement was drafted at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP21. The treaty was originally signed by 175 countries. Today, 189 parties representing 97 per cent of global emissions have joined, CBS News said quoting the World Resources Institute.

Also read: US rejoins Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Significance for India

Currently, India contributes only 6.8 per cent of global emissions and its per capita emissions are only 1.9 tonnes (per capita). This is by far the lowest among emerging economies.