After the siege under former President Donald Trump, Joe Biden’s attack is a brilliant exit. On the day he took office, he brought the United States back into the Paris climate agreement.
Since then, his climate envoy, John Kerry, has toured the world to convince other governments that the United States is leading the way again on climate – and that others should follow suit. In other words: Increase your efforts dramatically, otherwise the world will rise by three degrees instead of one and a half degrees, as the Paris agreement aims to do.
A big step forward
The first harvest will be shown at the Virtual Climate Summit in the USA. President Biden got the start and announced that his country would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005.
From a scientific standpoint, this is not enough to put the United States on a path compatible with the Paris Agreement, but it is a big step forward.
Some countries have already followed suit. Great Britain has dramatically increased its goal of climate protection, and Japan and Canada also want to do more. However, the other countries with high carbon dioxide emissions have barely moved so far, which is China.
Important team from China and the United States
However, given the difficult relationship between China and the United States, it was already successful for Chinese President Xi Jinping to participate in the summit – and recently China announced that it will work again with the United States on climate protection.
It was the Chinese-American team that made the Paris climate agreement possible in 2015. The most important UN climate conference since then will be held in Glasgow in November. The point is for all countries to drastically increase their targets for climate protection in order to slow global warming.
Biden depends on jobs
But why should other nations trust that the United States will never fulfill its promise again? Indeed, it will be difficult for Biden to pass the ambitious plans through Congress.
He believes in jobs and asserts that clean air conditioning will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That is why he wants to invest billions of dollars – and on the second day of the summit he is looking for economic support. People like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg were invited on Friday.
It remains to be seen whether this plan will succeed, and whether the clean technology will pick up the pace needed and convince American voters to support Biden’s climate policy.
The United States is doing a better job
But other countries can’t wait to see if the United States is definitely “in” this time. After a slight decrease linked to the Coronavirus in the steady rise in global carbon dioxide emissions, the International Energy Agency and the International Energy Agency expects a significant increase again.
If the world does not finally begin to transform the economy in earnest, it will be too late. An insightful thought might help: Even if the United States temporarily exit climate policy painful, it hasn’t stopped many other countries from improving climate protection, at least temporarily.
Climate protection is also possible without the USA, but with me is much better and better. So it is best if all countries help each other as much as they can going forward.
Thomas Häusler is science editor at SRF. He earned his PhD in Biochemistry and completed advanced training in water management at the University of Geneva. He has held the position of Head of Science Department since 2013.