World leaders praised President Joe Biden after he signed an executive order authorizing the United States‘ return into the Paris Climate Accords, signaling to the global community that the country has returned to the forefront in the battle against climate change after four years of regressive action under the Trump administration.
French President Emmanuel Macron was one of the first to praise Biden, writing, “We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time.”
To @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris.
Best wishes on this most significant day for the American people!
We are together.
We will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet. Welcome back to the Paris Agreement!
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) January 20, 2021
António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, also praised the move.
“With all countries fully engaged, we have a real opportunity to prevent climate catastrophe & embark on transformative climate action,” Guterres said
With all countries fully engaged, we have a real opportunity to prevent climate catastrophe & embark on transformative #ClimateAction.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 20, 2021
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the move as “hugely positive news.” Britain is hosting this year’s U.N. climate summit.
President @JoeBiden rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news. In the year we host @COP26 in Glasgow, I look forward to working with our US partners to do all we can to safeguard our planet.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 21, 2021
Biden’s recommitment to the Paris agreement was just one of what The New York Times called a “burst” of climate orders. He also signed an executive order reinstating more than 100 environmental regulations that had been rolled back by the previous administration and revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have transported oil, responsible for much of the world’s carbon emissions, from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
Former President Donald Trump’s actions in office were largely seen as deferential to corporations largely responsible for the burning of fossil fuels. He often denied that climate change is being accelerated by human activity and installed lobbyists in crucial positions at agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), setting the United States back on progress to address the climate crisis.
The “lengthy legal process of undoing most of Mr. Trump’s environmental rollbacks and replacing them with new regulations could take many years and is likely to be strewn with political land mines if Republicans or business groups fight against them,” The New York Times observed, but Biden is also likely to see significant efforts from members of his own party to push him in a direction that codifies the United States’ commitments.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.