U.S. Returns to Paris Agreement on Climate Change

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: UN
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. Photo: UN

U.S. Returns to Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The Paris Agreement enters into force for the United States on 19 February 2021.

The official return of the United States to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change represents good news for the country and the world, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Friday (February 19) during a virtual event to mark the occasion.

A new instrument of acceptance of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the United States was signed by President Joe Biden on 20 January 2021 and submitted to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the same day.

President Biden signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I warmly welcome President Biden’s steps to re-enter the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and join the growing coalition of governments, cities, states, businesses and people taking ambitious action to confront the climate crisis,” the UN chief said in a statement. 

The U.S. was among 194 countries that signed the Agreement in December 2015 under then President, Barack Obama. His successor, Donald Trump, announced three years later that the country would withdraw from the treaty, a decision which became effective last November. 

The United States of America had signed the Paris Agreement on 22 April 2016 and expressed its consent to be bound by the Agreement by acceptance on 3 September 2016, before withdrawing from the Agreement as of 4 November 2020.

The Paris Agreement enters into force for the United States on 19 February 2021, in accordance with its article 21 (3). Its registration is available on the UN Treaty website.

“Today’s the day. We’re officially back in the Paris Agreement – again part of the global climate effort. No country can fight this fight on its own. We look forward to a productive year and a successful #COP26 in Glasgow,” said Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry in his tweet on February 19.

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Rakesh Raman