While in office, President Trump took the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. But President Joe Biden brought the U.S. back into it as one of his first acts in office. But what is the Paris Climate Accord, and what does the deal do?
Paris Climate Accord: A Primer
194 members of the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to try and stop manmade climate change.
Each country that signed up is required to come up with a plan to reduce global warming. There is no way to enforce the agreement, but members are encouraged to develop emissions targets by a specific date.
The Accord’s ultimate goal is to limit the increase in the global average temperature to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius). To do this, officials hope to decrease emissions as quickly as possible.
Is It Working?
Developed countries had committed to spending $100 billion per year to the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund by 2020. They’re also supposed to send this level of funding to the climate fund each year until 2025. According to a Heritage Foundation study, following through on the commitments outlined at the beginning of the agreement would lead to enormous costs by 2035.
Analysts forecast that approximately 400,000 jobs would be lost, with about half being in manufacturing. They expect a total gross domestic product loss of more than $2.5 trillion.
Judging by President Biden’s remarks about how critical the Paris Accord is, one might think signatories must at least be reducing greenhouse gas emissions and getting close to the goal. But they aren’t.
Despite exiting the agreement early on, America’s CO2 emissions have dropped to 30-year lows, and the country has outperformed the others by vast margins. China, the European Union, and Canada have seen increases in CO2 emissions. Japan, the U.K., and Mexico have put only small dents on their pollution levels.