Joe Biden’s election could help reach Paris Agreement goal

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The election of Joe Biden as US president could bring down global heating by 0.1°C by 2100, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Joe Biden’s election as president of the US could help countries reach closer to the Paris climate agreement’s goals, potentially bringing down global heating by 0.1°C if his pledge is fulfilled.

Biden, who will become the 46th president of the US when he takes office in January, has outlined his extensive policy to combat climate change, a subject touched upon in the presidential debates too. The president-elect plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the help of $1.7 trillion in funds for a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Climate Action Tracker, which analysed the Biden’s climate plan in detail, notes how his policy would reduce US emissions by 75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide or its equivalents. The climate organisation’s calculations show that this decrease would be enough to avoid a 0.1°C global temperature rise by the end of the century, coupled with China’s pledge to bring emissions to net-zero by 2060, and the EU, Japan and South Korea’s commitment to reach that by 2050.

The US formally left the Paris Agreement to combat climate change last week, days before Biden was confirmed by news outlets to have won the presidential election. The incoming president has vowed to rejoin the 2015 agreement on his first day in office. The withdrawal was part of Donald Trump’s reversal of many measures introduced by the Obama administration — where Biden served as vice-president.

While Biden is expected to face strong opposition on many policies of his climate plan from Republicans, Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute, a Climate Action Tracker partner organisation, said in a press release: “Taken together, the US and China going to net-zero emissions would reduce our estimate of end-of-century warming to 2.3°C to 2.4°C, taking the world 25% to 40% of the way towards limiting warming to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit.”

Speaking to The Vegan Review, Höhne said of the current and incoming presidents: “President-elect Joe Biden recognises climate change is a problem, and has a far-reaching plan to tackle the issue, including a net-zero emissions by 2050 goal. President Trump has done his best to systematically dismantle as many climate policies as possible, but he’s not been able to stop the march of renewable energy, nor the shutting down of coal plants: the economics were against him.”

Touching on the timeline of the US re-entering the Paris Agreement, Höhne explained: “The formal process is that the US sends a letter to the UN Secretary-General and 30 days after that, the US would rejoin. But what really counts is his intention to rejoin, which is already clear today, because expectations are driving climate actions.

“The most important thing is for the US to update its 2030 target, and we understand he plans to submit this before next year’s climate talks.”

Read our story on the implications of the 2020 US presidential elections on climate change.

Anay Mridul
Anay Mridul
Anay is journalism graduate from City, University of London, he was a barista for three years, and never shuts up about coffee. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford Comma. Originally from India, he went vegan in 2020, after attempting (and failing) Veganuary. He believes being environmentally conscious is a basic responsibility, and veganism is the best thing you can do to battle climate change. He gets lost at Whole Foods sometimes.