The Paris Agreement and the United States: A Complex Relationship
The Paris Agreement, formally known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, sets out a global framework for tackling climate change. It aims to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement was adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris in 2015 and has been signed by 197 parties to date, including the United States.
However, the relationship between the Paris Agreement and the United States has been a complex one, marked by both cooperation and conflict. The United States, under the Obama administration, played a pivotal role in the negotiation and adoption of the agreement, committing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. The Obama administration saw the Paris Agreement as a crucial step towards addressing the threat of climate change and positioned the United States as a global leader in this effort.
However, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 brought this commitment into question. In 2017, the Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, citing concerns about its impact on the U.S. economy and sovereignty. This decision was widely criticized by the international community and sparked protests and calls for action by environmental groups and concerned citizens.
Despite the U.S. withdrawal, many states, cities, and businesses within the U.S. have continued to pledge their support for the Paris Agreement and to take action on climate change. As of 2021, 25 states and territories have committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition committed to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, and over 1,600 businesses have signed on to the We Are Still In initiative, pledging to reduce their emissions and support climate action.
The Biden administration has signaled a renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement and to addressing climate change more broadly. Upon taking office in 2021, President Biden immediately rejoined the Paris Agreement and pledged to set a new target of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030. This represents a significant shift in U.S. climate policy and a return to the country`s role as a leader in global climate action.
In conclusion, the relationship between the Paris Agreement and the United States has been a complex and shifting one. While the U.S. played a key role in the adoption of the agreement, its withdrawal under the Trump administration was a major setback for global climate action. However, the commitment of states, cities, and businesses within the U.S. and the renewed commitment of the Biden administration offer hope for the future of global climate action and the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement.