Sunday, 29 November, 2020
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OPINION

Biden To Change Climate Course



Bini Dahal

Climate change has now become one of the biggest concerns globally. The rising population and the subsequent increase in carbon emission prevalent in highly industrialised nations has suffocated the mother Earth most.
So, to prevent the situation from going out of control, the world’s leaders inked a global deal known as the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. With a total of 195 countries as signatories, the agreement aims to make countries work on preventing global threat caused by climate change by reducing temperature to 2 degree Celsius during this century.
While the industrialised nations like Japan, South Korea and China have pledged to work on reducing carbon emission, the Donald Trump administration in the United States of America (USA) has a different thought on this burning issue. Trump opted out of the pact, citing reasons that closing the coal industry, a major source of high carbon emission, could cause a huge damage to his country economically. The US had signed up the agreement during the Barack Obama administration.
Climate activists have heavily come down on Trump's reluctance to abide by the vital pact as America is the second highest carbon-emitting country after China, and doing so would make the whole pact a failure. The target set by the pact of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2 degree Celsius would be unachievable without the US's adherence to it.
While Trump has not been in favour of following the agreement for his country's economic development, the president-elect Joe Biden may change the path of climate action taken by the US. Democratic Party’s Biden, who defeated incumbent Trump in the recent presidential election, is going to assume office on January 20. In his election speeches, Biden pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement considering the devastating impact of climate change on ecology as well as the entire humankind.
Biden plans to completely reduce the US’s carbon emission. He has proposed to make US electricity production carbon-free by 2035 and to have the country achieve net zero emissions by the middle of this century. Once in office, he plans to spend $2 trillion over four years to drive down emissions by upgrading four million buildings to make them more energy efficient. He wants to spend heavily on public transport, invest in manufacturing electric vehicles and charging points and give consumers financial incentives to trade up to cleaner cars.
Bill Hare, a part of the Climate Action Tracker, has stated that with Biden winning the election, China, the USA, European Union (EU), Japan and South Korea – two-thirds of the world economy and over 50 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions-- would have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century.
While industrial development is necessary for a country to prosper economically, industrial development alone is not sufficient for people to survive. If the environment is not suitable because of the imbalance caused by global climate change, what is the use of spending billions of money on economic development?
So, the industrialised and highly developed countries must step up measures for achieving sustainable economic development while ensuring that the living environment is not ruined. Also, by supporting developing countries through technical and economic assistance, the industrialised nations can play an important role in ensuring climate action. Let us hope for a better world, where everyone is unified and concerned when it comes to protecting our common habitat.

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