Biden keeps promise to re-join WHO, Paris Agreement ‘on first day’
On the campaign trail, Biden vowed to 'follow the science.'
U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris are celebrating Inauguration Day by undoing some of Trump’s restrictive policies. One of Biden’s first actions as Commander-in-Chief will be signing an executive order to rejoin the Paris Agreement, keeping true to a promise he made while on the campaign trail. He will also re-join the World Health Organization and initiate a 100-day mask challenge in a bid to help curb a pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans to date.
Biden has vowed to ‘follow the science‘ when it comes to COVID-19, assembling a team of experts tasked with streamlining the government’s response and vaccine rollout.
In 2017, Trump made headlines when he announced his departure from the Paris Agreement, an international contract to fight climate change, signed by 197 countries.
“We know rejoining [Paris] won’t be enough, but along with strong domestic action, which this executive order kicks off, it is going to be an important step for the United States to regain and strengthen its leadership opportunities,” Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, told reporters Tuesday.
Under Biden’s order, the U.S. will send a letter to the United Nations requesting membership. It will then take 30 days to re-enter, E&E News reports (via Scientific American).
Biden is also set to sign an order to undo Trump’s rollback of greenhouse gas policies.
Biden also has plans to scrap the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the CBC reports. The pipeline was rejected by the Obama administration in 2015, triggering a multi-billion dollar NAFTA claim against the U.S. government launched by Alberta-based TC Energy, the company constructing the pipeline.
Donald Trump re-started construction on the pipeline four years ago, fully supporting the project.
But McCarthy said the line which, if completed, would transport crude from western Canada to facilities in Illinois, Texas, and Oklahoma contradicts the Biden administration’s plans to expand the clean energy sector and reduce greenhouse gases.
“Climate change is a crisis, and the Keystone pipeline and its construction was not consistent with addressing the climate crisis to the depth and scope that we are planning to address it,” she told reporters.
“Whatever limited benefit that Keystone was projected to provide now has to be obviously reconsidered with the economy of today.”