Biden moves to restore US climate programme

As Joe Biden  was sworn in as the 46th US President he moved swiftly to place the country back at the centre of the efforts to battle climate change.

As he prepared to take office yesterday he signed the instrument to re-join the Paris Agreement. The instrument was then deposited with the United Nations.

The move will see the United States officially become a Party again 30 days later. “The United States will be back in position to exercise global leadership in advancing the objectives of the Agreement,” said a spokesman for the President.

He also signed an Executive Order that his office described as taking the critical first steps to “address the climate crisis, create good union jobs, and advance environmental justice, while reversing the previous administration’s harmful policies”.

“The order looks to tackle the climate crisis by:

  • Directing all executive departments and agencies to immediately review and take appropriate action to address federal regulations and other executive actions taken during the last four years that were harmful to public health, damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest, including agency actions identified on the attached list;
  • Directing agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel economy and emissions standards, methane emissions standards, and appliance and building efficiency standards to ensure that such standards cut pollution, save consumers money, and create good union jobs;
  • Directing the Department of Interior to protect our nation’s treasures by reviewing the boundaries and conditions of the Grand Staircase-Escalante, Bears Ears, Northeast Canyons, and Seamounts Marine National Monuments and placing a temporary moratorium on all oil and natural gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;
  • Re-establishing the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) and directing the issuance of an interim social cost of GHG schedule to ensure that agencies account for the full costs of GHG emissions, including climate risk, environmental justice and intergenerational equity; and
  • Revoking, revising, or replacing additional Executive Orders, Presidential Proclamations, Memoranda, and Permits signed over the past 4 years that do not serve the U.S. national interest, including revoking the Presidential permit granted to the Keystone XL pipeline.”

In his speech President Biden pledged action in climate change.

He said that Americans were living in a period where the challenges were unlike those that had gone before including the need to swift action on global warming.

“A cry for survival comes from the planet itself and it cannot be more stringent than it is now,” he warned.

“We will rebuild our relationships to face the challenges of today and tomorrow,” he said adding the country will be judged by how it meets the threats of the COVID pandemic, the economic impact and climate change.