With the election of Joe Biden on Saturday, November 7, 2020 as the 46th President of the United States, activists are looking forward to a change in the country’s climate change diplomacy.
A few days ago, the country under the leadership of President Donald Trump officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement, a pact that aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.
Throughout their campaign, Biden and Kamala Harris promised to Build Back Better and get the country on track for a Just Recovery. In fact, climate change was a critical issue area of concern to U.S. voters, with seven in 10 voters supporting government action to address the climate crisis.
Biden and Harris apparently recognised this, making clear commitments on climate action and environmental justice.
Consequently, 350.org and partners have laid out clear demands for Biden and Harris’ first 100 days in office that embed environmental justice, a just recovery, climate equity accountability and energy democracy at their core.
These include: an end to fossil fuel extraction on public lands; ending fossil fuel subsidies; ensuring a just and equitable recovery from climate-related disasters; and give full backing for a Green New Deal roadmap that transitions the nation off fossil fuels, creates millions of good, union jobs, and builds a world where all of are safe from climate disasters.
May Boeve Executive Director, 350.org, said: “The US must now prove it can be taken seriously in the climate change fight by immediately re-entering the Paris Agreement, humbly working with global leaders on bolder climate ambitions and a global Just Recovery from COVID-19, and domestically taking rapid steps towards bold, comprehensive climate action.
“There is no more time to waste on climate. It’s time for the US to phase out existing fossil fuel extraction and implement a Green New Deal that protects communities, workers and the economy by developing a roadmap to transition us away from coal, oil, and gas and towards equitable energy democracy. It’s time for the US to prioritise climate justice for Black, Indigenous, and communities of color most impacted by climate breakdown. The US must shift finance flows out of a fossil fueled past and toward solutions that will help us secure a livable future for all.”
Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350.org North American Director: “From climate disasters, to racial and economic injustice, to COVID-19 and a failed healthcare system, Biden and Harris must work to push forward a just recovery from the compound crises. Voters turned out in record numbers and decided on new leadership. This election made clear that climate is a top priority for US voters, and we expect to see Biden and Harris follow through on their commitments to prioritize transformative climate action and environmental justice.
“From day one, we will work with the new administration and hold them accountable to their climate commitments. This election cycle has made one thing crystal clear: the United States remains a deeply divided country with a lot of work to do to address injustice, racism, defeat white supremacy, and to support multiracial and multigenerational movement for an America that works for all. We expect to see a clear vision of equitable and resilient social and economic transformation from Biden and Harris.”
Norly Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director: “It’s time for the US to step up as a global climate leader and re-enter the Paris Agreement. They must phase out existing fossil fuel extraction and put in place a green new deal that protects communities, workers and economies by developing a roadmap that transitions us off fossil fuels and centers energy democracy. The US must advance climate justice for communities globally – in Asia Pacific and also other areas — who are most impacted by climate breakdown and shift finance flows from fossil fuel to solutions.”
Fenton Lutunatabua, 350.org Pacific Managing Director: “Joe Biden has declared victory in the 2020 US presidential election. The US must regain the confidence of allies globally by making reparations for its historical and current carbon emissions. The first step is by re-entering the Paris Agreement, and to stop propping up the flailing fossil fuel industry. In this climate emergency, global solidarity is critical. They must start using their position as a high-GDP country and work closely with the Pacific to advance climate diplomacy and climate action.”
Landry Ninteretse, Regional Director at 350Africa.org: “The US remains one of the most influential actors on the global stage. African countries expect to see the US lending its voice to solve the most urgent crisis of our time, Climate Change; which continues to negatively impact many African states. The Paris Agreement is an important global instrument that the US needs to be a part of, but even while thinking of re-entering this Agreement, the US needs to join other global leaders to develop innovative and long-lasting climate change solutions that exclude fossil fuels and that chart the path to a greener future.”
Ilan Zugman, Regional Director at 350.org Latin America: “To the United States, this power shift brings the opportunity to build a leadership based on global climate justice, which includes measures such as strengthening the funding from the nation’s most responsible for the climate crisis for a just recovery in developing countries.
“At the same time, as the leading economy of the world signals that climate will gain even more centrality in its foreign policies and trade, governments in Latin America, especially the Brazilian government, have another strong incentive to put into practice more ambitious commitments of emission reductions. It makes even less sense now for president Bolsonaro to maintain its climate denialism.”