President Biden offered an apology on Monday for his predecessor’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords, saying that it put the world “behind the 8-ball.”
In remarks from Glasgow, Scotland, Biden claimed that the climate has become “an existential threat to human existence as we know it” during the UN’s COP26 conference before offering the apology for President Trump’s action.
“I guess I shouldn’t apologize but I do apologize for the fact the United States under the last administration pulled out of the Paris Accord,” Biden said. “That put us sort of behind the 8-ball.”
Earlier, Biden again spoke in dire talking points regarding the need for new spending to combat climate change, vowing U.S. participation.
“We only have a brief window left before us to raise our ambitions to meet the task that’s rapidly narrowing ourselves,” he said.
“I believe there’s an incredible opportunity — not just for the United States — but for all of us. We are standing at an inflection point in history,” he added. “We have the ability to invest in ourselves and build an equitable, clean energy future, and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs and opportunities around the world; cleaner air for our children; bountiful oceans; healthier forests; and ecosystems for our planet.”
Trump announced the U.S. was pulling out of the Obama-era agreement shortly after taking office in 2017, though the formal withdrawal did not occur until November of 2020. At the time, Trump called the deal wholly unfair to the United States, which would cost American jobs, harm the U.S. economy, and put America at a disadvantage globally because he believed that two of the world’s biggest polluters, China and India, would not comply.
The U.S. formally rejoined the pact earlier this year after Biden issued an executive order in February.
In his remarks, he went on to human existence as we know it,” Biden said. “And every day we delay, the cost of inaction increases.”
Let this be a decade of transformative action that preserves our planet and raises the quality of life for people everywhere. We can do this. We just have to make a choice to do it,” he noted further, adding that his administration has been “working overtime” in order to demonstrate that the U.S. climate commitment is “action, not words.”
He also talked up his “Build Back Better” economic agenda, noting that the measures include “historic investments in clean energy” while describing the packages as “the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis than any advanced nation has ever made.”
Biden went on to commit the country to trimming greenhouse emissions “by well over a gigaton by 2030” while also “making more affordable for consumers to save on their own energy bills with tax credits for things like installing solar panels, weatherizing their homes, lowering energy prices will also deliver cleaner air and water for our children; electrifying fleets of school buses, increasing credits for electric vehicles and addressing legacy pollution.”
He also said the agenda will “incentivize clean energy manufacturing and building solar panels and wind turbines that are growing energy markets of the future,” adding they would “create good-paying union jobs for American workers.”
Under the Trump administration, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell to their lowest level in decades — returning to about the same levels seen in 1983 — even as his energy policies included dramatically ramping up oil and gas exploration and production.
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