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US to Rejoin WHO and 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement

The Biden administration announced that the US will rejoin the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The two decisions are part of the decisions taken by the Biden administration to undo the decisions of the Trump administration. 

The Trump administration had withdrawn from WHO in July 2020 and from the Paris Climate Agreement in November of 2020. The US had withdrawn over the tensions with WHO regarding handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Biden administration submitted a letter of intent to the United Nations on 20 January for the US to reenter the Paris Agreement. On 21 January, the official White House account tweeted “President Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

“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,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

The US submitted a new instrument of acceptance of the Paris Agreement. According to the UN chief’s spokesperson, the Paris Agreement will enter into force for the United States on 19 February 2021, in accordance with its article 21 (3). 

“Today’s commitment by President Biden brings that figure to two-thirds. But there is a very long way to go”, added the UN Secretary General.

“The climate crisis continues to worsen, and time is running out to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and build more climate-resilient societies that help to protect the most vulnerable,”  he said.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said, “We look forward to the leadership of the United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero, including by bringing forward a new nationally determined contribution (NDC) with ambitious 2030 targets and climate finance in advance of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.”

On 25 January, the Climate Adaptation Summit event is being hosted by the Netherlands and the UN. Mr Biden’s Special Climate Envoy John Kerry will join China’s Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders at the Climate Adaptation Summit. The online event aims to set out practical solutions and plans for dealing with climate change in the period until 2030. More than 3,000 scientists from across the globe pressed leaders to better protect people from the fall out of global warming ahead of the summit. 

The Climate Adaptation Summit will have a significant focus on securing new investments to ensure that millions of smallholder farmers can adapt to the stresses of climate on food production. The summit organizers have called for major new funding for agricultural research, expanded access to farmer advisory services, as well as expanded access to risk management and financial services.