The US Recommits to the Paris Agreement and Keystone XL is Revoked:
In a significant turn of events, the newly elected president of the United States of America has undone many orders issued by the former president. Among the seventeen executive orders issued by Joe Biden on his first day in office, revocation of Keystone XL and the USA’s recommitment to the Paris Agreement are winning great support from climate activists.
The Paris Agreement and USA’s Withdrawal:
The Paris agreement that has been effective since 2016, outlines key measures to be taken to limit global temperature to 1.5 degrees. The signatories, bound by the contract, are meant to take climate action to prevent climate change. The signatory countries are also required to report their emissions to the United Nations. The US was a signatory of the accord since 2016. However, in June 2017, Donald Trump withdrew the country from the Paris Agreement. He claimed that implementation of the pact would be at the cost of the USA’s GDP, with the coal industry suffering the most.
Recommitment to the Paris Agreement:
As a developed country, the USA’s withdrawal from the agreement was somewhat discouraging. Similarly, be it developing or underdeveloped countries, everyone is seen putting an effort to achieve climate goals. But now the US is back in the game as Joe Biden has signed a letter for rejoining.
It was not just a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The former administration had put an end to many environmental policies which have now been restored. The president’s rejoining request will be a process of about a month. Besides this, the step will require the design and implementation of stringent climate policies.
The Disputed KXL Pipeline:
The idea of the Keystone XL or KXL pipeline was put forward in 2008. This pipeline was to add to an existing pipeline and travel from Canada’s province Alberta to US state Nebraska carrying more than 800,000 barrels of tar sands oil daily for processing.
Oil extraction from tar sands is not simple. The predicted environmental impacts associated with this project have earned it a lot of criticism. To drill up to the deposits, forests are destroyed, water resources polluted, and the health of many is compromised. Moreover, carbon emissions are thrice as much as from regular crude oil.
Revocation of KXL:
Barack Obama did not permit the construction of the pipeline, but Donald Trump did. The project was evaluated from a more economic point of view than environmental and economic both. Generation of more jobs was preferred over environmental health. Although some phases of the pipeline are completed, the pipeline’s construction has been halted as promised by Joe Biden. The Canadian Prime Minister and Premier of Alberta have expressed disappointment over the matter.
How Far Can They Take It?
The US Recommits to the Paris Agreement and Keystone XL is Revoked: USA’s recommitment to the Paris Agreement, revocation of KXL, and restoration of several environmental policies are being seen in a new light. Nonetheless, what matters more now is how effective these orders will be. With the highest percentage of carbon emissions, will the US be able to set an example for the rest? Will the US be able to minimize carbon emissions and achieve net-zero?