Story at a glance

  • Speaking at CPAC, former President Trump denounced the U.S.’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement and WHO.
  • Trump claims that both organizations are too expensive for the U.S. to join.

In his first major political appearance, former President Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28 and was quick to criticize the Biden administration’s first months in office as “disastrous.”

He notably honed in on Biden’s immediate initiatives to rejoin international agreements the Trump administration previously left, calling the new president’s decision to rejoin the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “horrendous surrender.” 

Trump also denounced the new administration’s choice to reenter the Paris Climate Accord under the same terms that caused Trump to exit. 

He alleges that both organizations are too expensive for the U.S. to join, stating that the U.S. pays $500 million in funding to the WHO. 

The WHO notes that assessed contributions from member countries are calculated relative to each country’s individual wealth and population.

Regarding the Paris Accord, Trump also said that other member countries who are also responsible for large volumes of pollutants, namely Russia and China, do not abide by the same regulations under the global commitment as the U.S. 

“What good does it do when we’re clean, but China is not and Russia is not and India is not,” Trump said. “They’re pouring fumes and we’re trying to protect everything and building products for three times more than is necessary. If they were going to go back in, that’s fine. But they could have made a great deal and said, instead of just saying we’re back in.”

His comments echo Republican senators’ legislative efforts to undermine Biden’s decision to rejoin the Paris Agreement.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill on Feb. 23 that would sever congressional funding to the U.S. joining the Paris Climate Agreement. 

It was introduced to the Senate with 10 Republican cosponsors, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). The bill was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. 

Speaking to The Hill, a spokesperson for Blackburn said that the bill’s primary aim is to prevent the U.S from allocating money to other countries to compensate for the U.S.’s previous withdrawal.

President Biden was swift to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, making it one of his first actions after taking office. It was also a major campaign promise. 

This decision now formally sets the U.S. back in line to prevent global temperatures from rising over 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial averages. Reducing carbon emissions is pivotal to achieving this benchmark. 

Data from the Climate Action Tracker notes that the U.S.’s 2020 emissions will be lower than the previous year primarily due to the economic halt brought on by the pandemic. 

While the U.S. still lacks a critical long-term plan for sustainable climate-friendly policy, Biden’s proposed $1.7 trillion investment in sustainable infrastructure aims to achieve a net-zero economy by 2050, along with other initiatives. 

Published on Mar 01, 2021