President Joe Biden is today expected to take the United States back into the Paris Agreement, and to ditch the Keystone XL giant oil pipeline, on day one of his presidency.
Friends of Earth International, U.S. and Europe, released the following statements in response:
Karen Orenstein, Climate and Energy Program Director for Friends of the Earth U.S., said:
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement was the easy part. The Biden Administration must now put together a carbon reduction plan premised on the United States doing its fair share of the global effort to keep temperature rise to 1.5°C and provide climate finance for developing countries in line with what science, equity, and justice demand. President Biden must approach the climate crisis internationally with the same promise of environmental justice pledged at home.”
A fair share of climate action
Meena Raman, of Sahabat Alam Malaysia / Friends of the Earth Malaysia, said:
“In recycling the same climate team as the Obama Administration the U.S. must not repeat its earlier bullying stance of blocking and undermining developing countries on issues such as equity between countries, and the transfer of finance and technology – including for loss and damage. To be taken seriously, President Biden must go far beyond just rejoining the Paris Agreement – he must listen and work cooperatively with developing countries in addressing the challenges they face in implementing more climate action in the face of the pandemic and growing indebtedness. The U.S. must be seen as a cooperative player, taking responsibility for its historical emissions and doing its fair share of action to phase out fossil fuels and increase its finance contributions.“
Dipti Bhatnagar, International Program Coordinator for Climate Justice and Energy for Friends of the Earth International, from Mozambique, said:
“The United States’ refusal to accept and address the high level of responsibility it bears for the climate crisis and encouragement of high-carbon lifestyles has resulted in untold suffering for women, men and children throughout the developing world. Droughts are destroying crops, cyclones are leveling homes, and whole nations are literally disappearing. The livelihoods and dignity of billions of people who didn’t create the climate crisis require that the Biden Administration takes immediate and far reaching climate action driven by justice, equity and science.“
Susann Scherbarth, Climate Justice Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is a first step on a long journey to rebuilding international trust – trust that President Biden can only earn by acting equitably on the climate crisis as if the fate of our common home and billions of people depended on it.”
197 countries have signed the Paris Agreement, agreeing to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with an aim of 1.5°C.
Friends of the Earth argues that fossil fuel industry and U.S. pressure made the Paris Agreement inadequate to meet the needs of climate justice and climate science.
The Biden Administration will subsequently be expected to submit a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to communicate the United States’ efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. John Kerry, the new special presidential envoy for climate, is reportedly assembling a team including key personnel who worked closely on the Paris Agreement.