Story at a glance

  • In June 2017, former President Trump announced the U.S. would abandon the climate agreement signed by nearly 200 countries.
  • Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that kicked off a 30-day process for the U.S. to reenter the pact.
  • The agreement aims to avoid climate change disasters by keeping average global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celisus, and preferably less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century.

The United States on Friday officially rejoined the Paris climate accord aimed at reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions globally in an effort to curb the effects of climate change. 

The nation’s official return to the international climate agreement comes nearly one month after President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that kicked off a 30-day process for the U.S. to reenter the pact. Biden has taken a series of executive actions as part of a push to tackle the climate crisis and transition the U.S. to a clean-energy economy. 


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In June 2017, former President Trump announced the U.S. would abandon the agreement signed by nearly 200 countries, calling it a “draconian” international deal and vowing to negotiate a better deal for the U.S. 

The U.S. officially withdrew late last year, the only country of the nearly 200 signatories to do so. 

The U.S., which is the second-largest producer of carbon emissions behind China, played a key role in forming the accord in 2015, which aims to avoid climate change disasters by keeping average global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably less than 1.5 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century. Each country is required to set individual goals to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. 

“The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented framework for global action. We know because we helped design it and make it a reality. Its purpose is both simple and expansive: to help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming and to build resilience around the world to the impacts from climate change we already see,” Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement

“Now, as momentous as our joining the Agreement was in 2016 — and as momentous as our rejoining is today — what we do in the coming weeks, months, and years is even more important,” he said. 


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Published on Feb 19, 2021