Biden apologizes for US withdrawing from Paris deal under Trump

President Biden on Monday apologized for the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, saying doing so set the world back in the fight against climate change.

“I guess I shouldn’t apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States in the last administration pulled out of the Paris accords and put us sort of behind the eight ball a little bit,” Biden said during a session on “action and solidarity” at the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow. 

Biden, who rejoined the Paris climate deal upon taking office in January, said that the U.S. was committed to meeting its goals to lower greenhouse gas emissions as he pleaded with other major economies to do their part. 

“The United States, if I have anything to do with it, will do our part,” Biden said. “Our success in my view hinges on our collective commitment to ramping up our momentum and strengthening our climate ambition.”

Biden sought to assure other global leaders of the U.S. commitment to combatting climate change during his appearance at the conference. Biden is trying to rally the global community to take more aggressive actions, describing the next decade as critical in combating climate change. 

“There’s no more time to hang back or sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves,” Biden said in earlier remarks at the summit on Monday. “This is the challenge of our collective lifetimes. The existential threat to human existence as we know it.” 

But the president has nevertheless faced questions on the world stage given the potential for U.S. administrations to change every four years. Former President Trump, who repeatedly minimized the threat from climate change during his term, has also teased a presidential run in 2024, though he has not formally announced any plans. 

Trump announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement during his first year in office and the process was formally completed in November 2020. 

Earlier this year, Biden pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2023. In timing with the summit, the White House outlined a long-term strategy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Biden has also proposed substantial investments in addressing climate change as part of his sweeping domestic agenda currently being debated on Capitol Hill. Last week, the president offered a scaled-back compromise social and climate policy framework that includes $555 billion in climate-related investments. 

Still, the package and some of the climate provisions are subject to uncertainty as Democrats debate the final details of the bill. Biden expressed confidence on Sunday his measure would pass in the coming week.

Tags COP26 Donald Trump Joe Biden paris climate accord Paris climate agreement UN Climate Summit

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