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While attending this year’s virtual G20 summit on Sunday, President Trump blasted the Paris Climate Agreement, which President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin on his first day as president. Trump claimed that the international agreement, which involves the interests of almost 200 sovereign nations all with their own social and economic priorities, was specifically “designed to kill the American economy.” Trump went on to say that the U.S. has been a world leader in reducing carbon emissions since his announcement to exit the accord, but the Associated Press noted that the U.S. has made far less progress by percentage.
Trump also claimed that he left the agreement to “protect American workers,” but his failure to assist former coal workers in the rust belt and his disregard for the over 40 million unemployed Americans suffering job loss due to the pandemic, has left critics skeptical.
Around The World: China, the worldwide leader in carbon emissions, recently announced a national initiative to reach net-zero emissions. At the summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized his intent to see the ambitious plan through. “Not long ago, I announced China’s initiative to scale up its nationally determined contributions and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” he said. “China will honor its commitment and see the implementation through.” Other world leaders called for a cooperative approach to fight climate change; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated, “climate change must be fought not in silos but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way.”
Biden has not only promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement but also reverse many of the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks. Experts and activists have called on the future Biden administration to reinstate protections for public lands and endangered species that were eliminated over the last four years. Biden assured Americans earlier this month that he is already making plans to do damage control. “I want people to know we are not waiting to get the work done,” he said.
The United States can once again reenter the global effort to combat climate change and serve as a source of leadership and allyship. The Biden administration will also have an opportunity to put climate action at the heart of U.S. foreign policy and build back the diplomatic credibility that’s been lost during the Trump administration.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on this issue in BP Plc v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, which could determine whether or not oil companies are held accountable for climate change damages to cities and states.
Why This Matters: If SCOTUS rules in favor of BP, future climate litigation will likely be fought in federal courts, which experts say are “less responsive to expansive legal theories,” and thus less likely to rule in favor of these innovative new climate cases based on state law. Whoever wins this case will have a leg up in future climate litigation.
This week we sat down with Dr. Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University to talk about his new book The New Climate War in which he examined a century of history to break down science misinformation tactics deployed by industries like tobacco and oil and gas that were used to […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer After being forced to make major cuts to California’s environmental programs just eight months ago, last week, Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a $227 billion budget deal that would bolster a set of environmental initiatives. The proposal designates $4.1 billion to fight forest fires, reduce smog, and increase the […]
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