Lawmakers and climate advocates from around the globe have lined up to work eagerly with US President-elect Joe Biden to move quickly to implement green recovery policies that will accelerate the shift to a cleaner and safer world for all and also restoring the US climate leadership.
For them, Biden’s climate plan strives for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and unveiling $2 trillion investments in clean energy and climate-resilient infrastructure as a core pillar of his economic recovery and jobs program.
In his victory speech on Saturday night, Biden said he will “marshall the forces of science in the battle to save our planet”.
Sending well wishes to Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “The US is our important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security,” remarked Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In Fiji, where rising sea levels and intense cyclones have forced people to abandon their homes, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted his congratulations to Biden.
“Together, we have a planet to save from a climate emergency and a global economy to build back better from COVID19. Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the Paris Agreement — ASAP!” he said in a message.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he was looking forward to strengthening excellent US-Swedish relations and to work jointly for multilateralism, democracy and global security.
“Together, we can lead a green transition creating jobs for the future,” he informed in a tweet.
The EU was closely following the Presidential and Congressional elections in the US, said European Council President Charles Michel.
“The EU is ready to engage for a strong transatlantic partnership. COVID-19, multilateralism, climate change and international trade are some of the challenges which Europe wants to address together,” he tweeted.
“The American people to Donald Trump: ‘You’re fired!'” reacted former UN Environment Executive Director and a green optimist Erik Solheim in a tweet.
Congratulating Biden and Harris, COP26 President-Designate and British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma, “Very much looking forward to working with the US on climate action and COP26 and thank you for your commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.”
The US Department of State on November 4 began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
President Trump had announced the withdrawal in 2017, stopping an Obama-era pledge to cut emissions.
To tackle climate change and its negative impacts, 197 countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on December 12, 2015.
Entered into force less than a year later, the deal aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius while pursuing means to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees.
For an optimistic Harjeet Singh, Global Climate Lead at ActionAid, Biden’s victory must put an end to the influence of USA’s fossil fuel industry in the global climate talks.
“Being the largest historical emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, his country has the greatest responsibility to act,” Singh told IANS.
“We hope the new government will show true climate leadership by drastically bringing down carbon emissions domestically and providing finance to developing nations, as per its fair share,” he added.
Responding to the victory, Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Lead, Kat Kramer, told IANS: “This is a significant victory for the climate which should have a material impact on efforts to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon world.
“The United States may have formally withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, but it’s telling that despite four years of waging war on climate action, Donald Trump’s successor will make this a very brief exit for the United States.
“We’ve seen countries announcing plans to decarbonise with net-zero emission goals set in Europe, China and Japan. And we’ve seen a groundswell of sub-national climate action taking place in the United States at the state and city level which will now be given new support from a Biden White House.”
Throughout their campaign, Biden and Harris have promised to Build Back Better and get the country on track for a Just Recovery.
May Boeve Executive Director of 350.org, said: “The US must now prove it can be taken seriously in the climate change fight by immediately re-entering the Paris Agreement, humbly working with global leaders on bolder climate ambitions and a global Just Recovery from COVID-19, and domestically taking rapid steps towards bold, comprehensive climate action.”
“The US must shift finance flows out of a fossil fueled past and toward solutions that will help us secure a livable future for all.”
The day US formally withdrew from the Paris agreement, Biden said, “Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it.”
Beyond rejoining the Paris Agreement, say climate advocates, there are a number of other approaches Biden could take to accelerate climate action by using substantial existing executive authority to require clean energy adoption and restrict investments in infrastructure to extract, transport, process, and consume fossil fuels.