What Biden could do on climate—even with a Republican Senate

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The election hasn’t been called, but should Biden win but not control the Senate, he can still put us back in the Paris agreement—and push change via regulations and executive action. On November 4, Trump officially withdrew from the Paris climate agreement . If Biden wins, on his first day in office on January 20, he plans to rejoin it—a first step in setting the U.S. on a path to tackle climate change, which Biden has called the “number one issue facing humanity.” Read Full Story

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The U.S. rejoined the Paris agreement. Now comes the hard part

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Four years of inaction mean the country is far behind on the commitments required by the climate agreement. Here’s the bold action the Biden administration will need to take to keep the U.S. on track. More than three and a half years after Trump said that the U.S. would pull out of the Paris climate agreement, we’re back in. On Biden’s first day in office, rejoining the accord was the third of 17 immediate executive orders he signed as soon as was sworn in. Rejoining was simple; after sending a letter to the United Nations, the U.S. will officially be part of Paris again in a month. The next part is harder. How can the world’s second-largest polluter shrink emissions enough to comply with the deal. Read Full Story

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7 climate actions that Biden could take on his first day

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From rejoining the Paris Agreement to stopping the Keystone Pipeline to restoring the Bears Ears monuments, some of the Trump administration’s most public environmental rollbacks can be easily reversed by a new president. The last four years have been devastating for environmental regulation. The Trump administration dismantled the Clean Power Plan, opened Arctic wilderness for drilling, and, as part of a spree of rollbacks in his last days in office, shrank the protected habitat of the northern spotted owl. Those are just the most visible of the more than 100 rollbacks of environmental rules spearheaded by the administration. Now the Biden administration will start trying to reinstate them. Some of the changes will take years to reverse—and going further will often require votes in the Senate that may not be winnable. But Biden can also begin to repair some of the damage on his first day in office. Read Full …

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What John Kerry has planned as Biden’s climate envoy

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At a conversation with Al Gore to mark the U.S. returning to the Paris Climate agreement, the former Secretary of State and new climate envoy discussed how the U.S. can regain the trust of the global climate community. It’s now been 30 days since President Biden signed an executive order to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, which means the U.S. is formally back in the global effort. But while there is important symbolism in that action, it’s only the beginning of the climate work Biden’s administration must do. John Kerry, who first signed the country into that agreement as Secretary of State in 2016, is now tasked with convincing the rest of the world that the U.S. can be trusted as a leader in this space as Biden’s climate envoy. Read Full Story

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The 7 things Biden should do first to tackle climate change

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The new president will have to act quickly and decisively when he takes office. Here is what he should do right away, from rejoining the Paris agreement to undoing Trump’s rollback of regulations. If 2020 hadn’t been the year of COVID-19, it might have gone down as the year that the climate crisis became more obvious than it had ever been before. By the end of January, fires in Australia that began in late 2019 had burned through an area larger than Ireland . In April, the Great Barrier Reef reported the most widespread coral bleaching event on record . In July, as much as a third of Bangladesh flooded , displacing millions of people. In August, record-breaking fires in California temporarily turned the sky dark orange , and then made it unsafe to breathe outside for weeks. In November, after a record number of storms in the Atlantic, typhoons …

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The U.S. plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030

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The goal is in line with what climate scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst impacts from climate change. The U.S. now aims to cut annual greenhouse gas emissions in half—between 50% and 52% lower than 2005 levels—by the end of the decade. The Biden administration announced the goal today as its new commitment under the Paris climate agreement , nearly doubling the previous commitment made under Obama. Read Full Story

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5 years after the Paris climate agreement, the world is far off track of its goals

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On the anniversary of the landmark global climate deal, we can see the path to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius—but we’re not remotely far enough down it. It’s been five years since the world’s leaders met in Paris and hammered out the terms of the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate deal with the goal to cut emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Since then, solar power has become the cheapest form of electricity in history . Countries like China and the U.K. have committed to reach net-zero emissions. But the world is still very far from on track to actually addressing global warming. Read Full Story

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Heathrow’s planned new runway just got canceled—thanks to the Paris Agreement

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For the first time ever, the Paris climate agreement has formed the basis of a major court ruling. The project to expand London’s Heathrow airport was first proposed in 2009, and it has had a turbulent journey since. It was initially backed by a Labour government, canceled a year later, revived, then backed by a Conservative government in 2018. Proponents have touted the plan as a source of extra jobs, additional air routes, and fewer delays. The U.K. Department of Transport has estimated an economic benefit of £61 billion, or $79 billion, over the next 60 years. Read Full Story

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Unilever is investing $1.1 billion in a new climate fund—and hopes to reach net zero emissions by 2039

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The goal is to hit the benchmarks set by the Paris Climate Agreement far earlier than the 2050 deadline. Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, had a carbon footprint equivalent to about 60 million metric tons of CO2 in 2019. But by 2039, the company plans to shrink the carbon footprint of its products to net zero, 11 years before the deadline set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Read Full Story

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The enormous COVID-19 recovery plans show there’s money to solve climate change

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We’re spending 15% of global GDP on one crisis. What would happen if we treated the climate crisis the same way? The amount of funding that governments are throwing at the economic recovery from COVID-19—more than $12 trillion announced so far, or 15% of the global GDP—is unprecedented. How much of that would it take to put the global energy system on track to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement? With only a fraction of the pandemic recovery money, we could fund the transition to clean energy. Read Full Story

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Big ideas for Biden’s first 100 days

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The new administration needs to move quickly on multiple fronts to confront a variety of crises. Our new series will look at how the new administration will move on key issues—from climate to AI to worker pay, and more—in the next few months. On January 2o, the clock started on the first 100 days of the Biden administration. While there will be 1,360 more days to follow, the period between January and the end of April is when the direction and forcefulness of the new president’s initial policies will be judged. How will he change regulation? What can he push through Congress? What first steps will his new appointees take? Read Full Story

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