By: Brandon Macken
National energy policy was a key issue in the 2020 Presidential Election. As scientists release more statistical data about the effects of global warming on our environment, the United States has called upon the rest of the world to act. John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, has stated that the inaction by the rest of the world powers on the issue of pollution affecting climate change amounts to a “mutual suicide pact” among them. Although an abundance of world leaders have opened their eyes to the issues amongst us, many remain blinded by their pomposity.
While former United States President Donald Trump lived in the White House, the United States withdrew from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement and his administration ignored climate policy for much of his term. The 2015 Paris Agreement is a legally binding treaty within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was adopted by 197 countries with a primary goal of limiting global warming. Although science shows that air pollution remains rampant in many parts of the world, world powers like Russia and China have adopted the Paris Agreement, but maintain that global warming isn’t the worst of the world’s issues. China has a goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, even though it will allow pollution levels to rise in 2021. In addition, Russia seems fine with its pollution levels even as dogs are turning blue and pink there, in one of the world’s worst polluted locations, Dzerzhinsk. In that city where almost 300,000 tons of chemical waste was dumped during and after the Cold War, the dogs were spotted near the Kristall defense plant — which currently manufactures explosives and ammunition. Russian officials have downplayed these claims and assert that the color of the dogs has nothing to do with the pollution levels and more to do with an unknown dye.
The United States is attempting to regain the trust of the rest of the world in the area of environmental issues after President Joe Biden’s election win. In President Biden’s first day in office, he signed an executive order for the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement that was abandoned by the former administration. The United States has promised to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2025 in comparison to 2005 levels. However, according to analysts the United States is only on track to reach about 17% reduction. Biden’s administration has a deadline of April 22 to complete a pledge for 2030 emissions cuts ahead of its Earth Day summit. Even though climate change policies remained non-existent during the former administration, research from nonfederal analysts continued to make progress on troubleshooting these climate change issues. The United States understands how crucial this pledge is if the United States is to be taken seriously on an issue that was a key point in Biden’s promises prior to the election. Kerry has met with other world leaders about these issues and has welcomed the non-federal climate group “America Is All In” — whose goal is to support cutting emissions in half by 2030 and put the United States on track to net zero by 2050. Whatever the solution may be for the United States, the clock is ticking and the world will be watching when the Biden administration announces their plan to contribute to climate change.