Environmental campaigners have commented on the implications for US climate policy of Joe Biden’s inauguration as US President.

President Biden will commit the US to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement as one of his first acts when he takes office. He is also widely expected to rescind permits for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline which carries fossil fuels from Canada through to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Head of Campaigns Mary Church said:

“Responding to the climate emergency should be at the top of the in-tray for President Biden, as it should be for all credible leaders. Rejoining the Paris Agreement is of course a welcome first step, but it’s the easy part, and needs to be followed by a positive transformation of the US economy to set the course for zero emissions.

“Having the world’s second largest polluter back at the table is important but the US Government’s role in the UN climate talks historically, even under the Obama administration, has been one of blocking and undermining progress on climate justice. The Biden administration will have its work cut out to build trust and demonstrate real climate leadership at the Glasgow talks this year.

“The new US administration needs to turn around decades of inaction and indifference towards climate science, take responsibility for the role it has played in causing the climate crisis and do its fair share of meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement keeping warming within the agreed limits of 1.5C.

“Cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline would represent a significant victory for Indigenous groups and climate activists who have fiercely opposed this reckless fossil fuel infrastructure for years. Promises on cleaning up energy and transport are encouraging but need to be translated into concrete policies and budget commitments in the early days of the new Presidency. The US needs to get down to work to plan and deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels across the economy, and create millions of decent jobs by implementing radical Green New Deal proposals.

“Whilst Trump may soon be gone, his four years of destruction, slashing of safeguards and undermining of science, on top of decades of US resistance to climate justice, will take a lot longer to undo.”

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

US to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/16/politics/joe-biden-executive-orders-paris-climate-accord-muslim-ban/index.html

Biden indicates plans to cancel Keystone XL pipeline permit on first day in office, sources confirm https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/biden-keystone-xl-1.5877038

A Brief History of the United States and the UN Climate Change Negotiations
https://worldat1c.org/a-brief-history-of-the-united-states-and-the-un-climate-change-negotiations-bf7525d4ef13

Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe.scot