September 17, 2021

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Chronology of the commitments made and discarded by the United States on climate change

Chronology of the commitments made and discarded by the United States on climate change

President Biden has announced an ambitious new commitment to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030 as part of a global climate summit starting today. It is a move intended to re-establish America as an international leader in the fight against global warming after four years of environmental arrests and climate denial by the Trump administration.

US presidents have pledged to combat global warming for more than three decades, going back to when George HW Bush promised during the 1988 election campaign that “those who think we are powerless to do anything about the” greenhouse effect “they are forgetting about the home effect.” “

But America’s commitment to tackling climate change has fluctuated depending on which political party is in power. Here are some key moments:

1992: President George HW Bush signs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The agreement provides the basis for international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

1997: President Clinton agrees to reduce greenhouse gases by 7% compared to 1990 levels under the Kyoto Protocol, the first international treaty with legally binding obligations to limit emissions. The United States signed the agreement but was not bound by it because it was never ratified by the United States Senate.

2001: President George W. Bush announces that the United States will not join the Kyoto Protocol, opposing the fact that it has exempted developing countries from mandatory emission cuts.

2015: President Obama pledges to reduce U.S. emissions from 26% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025, under the historic Paris climate agreement. For the first time, nearly all countries have pledged to take action to keep global temperatures “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to avoid disastrous levels of climate change.

2017: President Trump announces that the United States will abandon the Paris Agreement, in a sharp turn towards policies in favor of fossil fuels and “America First” isolationism. The withdrawal will not officially take effect until the end of your mandate.

2021: President Biden he moved to join the Paris Agreement on his first day in office. This week his administration will announce a new commitment to reduce emissions from 50% to 52% by 2030, setting one of the most ambitious climate goals in the world.

A Biden administration official tried to describe the U.S. commitment to cut emissions as stable despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which Biden has now joined.

“It is important to keep in mind that for the past four years, our cities and states, our businesses and our workers, have remained,” the official said. “We have continued to march towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.”