After 107 days, the U.S. rejoined the Paris climate accord on Friday. Former President Donald Trump had withdrawn the U.S. from the landmark 2015 international agreement to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions in 2019, but his order did not take effect until Nov. 4, 2020, the day after he was voted out of office. President Biden signaled his intent to bring the U.S. back into the Paris accord right after taking office. Now, it’s official.
The important part of the U.S. rejoining the pact is “the political message that’s being sent,” former United National climate chief Christiana Figueres told The Associated Press. “It’s not about how many days. It’s the political symbolism that the largest economy refuses to see the opportunity of addressing climate change.” When the U.S. decided to leave, there was a concern that other nations would follow, but they didn’t, Figueres said.
Now, world leaders are waiting for the Biden administration to announce its new targets for curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The world has warmed 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) since pre-industrial times, and the Paris accord seeks to keep that warming below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) to prevent catastrophic changes to the global climate.