Comments on US officially re-entering the Paris Agreement

Published:18 February 2021

Commenting on the US’s formal return to the landmark Paris Agreement which officially takes effect tomorrow (19 February), Laurence Tubiana, France’s Climate Change Ambassador and Special Representative for COP21 and CEO of the European Climate Foundation (ECF) said:

“It's good to have the US back in the Paris Agreement, but sadly we have no time to celebrate. The climate crisis is deepening and this is the year we need all major polluters to step up and deliver stronger plans to deliver a safe, clean and prosperous future for everyone.

“The US needs to come to COP26 with a strong commitment: the science tells us this means a target of at least 50% GHG cuts on 2005 levels by 2030, ideally more.”

Rt. Hon Andrea Leadsom, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire said:

“It is fantastic that the Biden Administration has prioritised re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement. Paired with China’s ambition to reach net zero by 2060, these two opportunities offer prospects for success at COP26 in the autumn.

“Success, however, is certainly not guaranteed, and it is vital that these two countries work with other nations, including the United Kingdom, to achieve their goals and encourage others to be equally ambitious.

“By working with other like-minded nations, the United Kingdom can demonstrate both soft power and global leadership in promoting a cleaner, greener global economy.”

Richard Black, Senior Associate at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said:

“After what must be the shortest and most pointless withdrawal from an international agreement ever, the US is back in the game like a linebacker after a time-out – sleeves rolled up, game face on, getting down to business.

“The last four years have been strange ones, with many US states and businesses pressing ahead with decarbonisation and its citizens feeling climate change impacts even as Donald Trump continued to deny the problem and undermine the solutions.

“But they are most definitely over; and at home and internationally we can expect a real acceleration now, with the White House and State Department deploying their formidable diplomatic power in support of a strong agreement at November’s COP26, benefiting citizens of both Paris and Pittsburgh.

“With clean energy already undercutting fossil fuels on many fronts and other countries such as China and the EU coming to the party, the signal to investors and markets couldn’t be clearer: the destination is net zero by mid-century.”

You can view an expert panel (featuring Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School; Rachel Cleetus, Policy Director, US Union of Concerned Scientists; Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Founder, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT)) discuss the implications of the US’s return to the Paris Agreement at an ECIU media briefing here. [Please note that to watch the full video you will need to download at top right]

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