Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Friday that the United States formally rejoined the Paris climate agreement, arguing it will “help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming” and “build resilience” around the world.
The largely symbolic act comes as the Biden administration has quickly moved to reverse the energy policies of former President Donald Trump — including revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit. President Biden has also signed executive actions to eliminate federal subsidies for oil and other fossil fuels and moved to halt new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters.
Blinken, in a statement Friday, described the agreement as an “unprecedented framework for global action.”
“We know because we helped design it and make it a reality,” he said. “Its purpose is both simple and expansive: to help us all avoid catastrophic planetary warming and to build resilience around the world to the impacts from climate change we already.”
Republicans have pushed back at the action.
“By rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden indicates he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted last month. “This agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans.”
Biden, on his first day in office, signed papers to rejoin the Paris climate accord. The Trump administration officially left the agreement last year. The Paris Agreement was a global pact created during the Obama administration to combat climate change.
Blinken, on Friday, said “as momentous” as the United States’ first joining was in 2016, and as “momentous as our rejoining is today—what we do in the coming weeks, months, and years is even more important.”
Blinken said Americans will “continue to see” the Biden administration “weaving climate change into our most important bilateral and multilateral conversations on all levels” and asking global partners to discuss ways to “do more together.”
“Climate change and science diplomacy can never again be ‘add-ons’ in our foreign policy discussions,” Blinken said. “Addressing the real threats from climate change and listening to our scientists is at the center of our domestic and foreign policy priorities.”
He added: “It is vital in our discussions of national security, migration, international health efforts, and in our economic diplomacy and trade talks.”
Blinken added that the U.S. is “reengaging the world on all fronts” and noted that Biden will host the Leaders’ Climate Summit in April. Blinken added that the U.S. is “very much looking forward to working with the United Kingdom and other nations around the world to make COP26 a success.”
Biden, after participating in a virtual meeting of G-7 countries on Friday, said that the U.S. and partners “have to accelerate our commitments and hold one another accountable.”
“That’s why, as president, I rejoined the Paris Agreement,” he said Friday. “The U.S. is officially a party to the Paris Agreement, which we helped put together.”
Biden added that the U.S. is “determined to reengage with Europe,” and “earn back its position.”
Biden, last year, announced that former Secretary of State John Kerry would serve as the special presidential envoy for climate and will sit on the National Security Council — the first time that the NSC includes an official dedicated to climate change.