Today marks the fourth anniversary of the day the world gaveled in the Paris Agreement on climate change – the most ambitious, inclusive climate agreement in history. It was an extraordinary moment. The Paris Agreement marked the start of a global, coordinated effort to tackle the most formidable threat of our time. We knew the job wasn’t finished, but the world finally agreed to move down the right path – together.
President Trump’s reckless decision to unilaterally withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement has put our ability to confront the climate crisis in jeopardy. It proves he doesn’t have any idea of what we’re up against, despite the indisputable scientific evidence. It again confirms that he is incapable of real leadership. While Trump complains that other countries aren’t doing enough on climate, he walked away. That’s a dangerous approach to a challenge that requires urgent, sweeping action. It puts America at risk. It puts the world at risk.
As President, I’ll rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement on my first day in office and begin implementing policies to ensure the United States achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions by 2050. I will convene a climate summit with leaders of the major emitting nations within the first 100 days of my Administration and bring to bear the full force of our diplomacy, our economy, and our technical expertise to get every country to increase the ambition of their commitments under the Paris Agreement. And I’ll invest $1.7 trillion to make sure the United States leads the clean-energy market of the future.
The Paris Agreement was only possible thanks to years of tough, clear-eyed diplomacy. Of the nearly 200 countries that have signed the agreement, none have followed Trump out the door. But without the United States driving urgency and accountability, we’ve begun to see backsliding and slowing progress. The Paris Agreement is a framework for action – not a once-and-done solution. Its success demands continued diplomacy, mutual accountability, and pressure on all countries to transition to a low-carbon economy as quickly as possible. Its success will require the leadership of the United States.
The United States accounts for 15 percent of global emissions. That means we can’t address climate change alone, but it also means the world can’t address it without us. It has been deeply encouraging to see our governors, mayors, youth leaders, business leaders, civil society leaders, and others ramp up their action to fill the vacuum of leadership left by Trump. They’re making a real difference and their work will be essential in the years ahead. But as long as Trump sits in the Oval Office, we cannot make the progress our planet needs.
It’s time to put an end to President Trump’s shameful abdication of leadership. The future of our country and the world our children and grandchildren inherit hangs in the balance.
A member of the Democratic Party, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. served as the 47th vice president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Biden also represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009. He is a candidate for president in the 2020 election.