If winning the U.S. election wasn’t exactly straightforward, Joe Biden now has a mountain to climb. He takes over the White House from the most climate-sceptic President in history; President Donald Trump scaled back over 70 environmental regulations during his time in office and weakened Obama-era regulations on everything from oil and gas companies to air pollution.
Biden, and his Vice President Kamala Harris, have vowed to put the climate at the heart of his presidency. But all the rhetoric in the world won’t be enough to reduce the footprint of the world’s second largest emitting nation, so they’ll have their work cut out for them — especially if the Democrats fail to win the Senate.
On the global stage, Biden’s first major act after his January 20 inauguration will be to rejoin the Paris Agreement after Trump officially withdrew in November. This will commit the U.S. to contribute its fair share to keeping global warming to 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial temperatures. But actually delivering adequate reductions in emissions will be an uphill battle.
We’ll be looking to see how this plays out on a global stage – and scrutinising how Biden plans to cut U.S. emissions while keeping environmental justice firmly in focus. It remains to be seen whether Biden and Boris Johnson manage to bond over climate change, as has been suggested, despite the president-elect’s serious concerns over Britain’s Brexit policy.”