"Timing wise, this U-turn in US climate policy is excellent"

Published by  Communications

On 22nd Jan 2021

Image credit: The White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As President Biden signs the United States back up to the UN Paris Agreement, Heike Schroeder, professor of environmental governance in UEA’s School of International Development, says timing wise this U-turn in the country’s climate policy is excellent. 

“President Biden has demonstrated strong resolve on the matter of climate change by appointing a climate team that boasts many strong names and by making climate change one of his top priorities and putting out several executive orders on day one,” Prof Schroeder said.

“Some of the highlights here include re-entering the Paris Agreement, which will come into effect 30 days later, and his order to rescind the presidential permit Trump granted the Keystone XL pipeline to transport crude oil from Canada through indigenous territories in the US. A Democrat-led Senate will also make funding any new schemes, policies or legislation so much easier.

“Timing wise, this U-turn in US climate policy is excellent. For example, countries need to update their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement this year – including the US. A lot of groundswell is building in the run up to COP26 in November, including in the US the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition that includes around 4,000 US states, cities, businesses, universities, faith communities and tribal groups. 

“There is also the opportunity for post-Covid re-energising of the economy with a much more explicit green/climate smart drive. There are still challenges though, such as bringing around the fossil fuel industry.”

Prof Schroeder's work focuses on global environmental politics and international climate negotiations. She examines the international politics of climate change at global, national and regional levels. She has attended several international summits on climate change and written about the negotiations process. 

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