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We’re returning to the Paris Climate Agreement: What does it mean?

President Biden signed an executive order to re-enter the United States back into the deal and combat climate change on the world stage.
Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 7:13 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - President Biden has made it clear that one of his top priorities in the White House, aside from the COVID-19 pandemic, is climate change.

He signed an executive order this week to re-enter the U.S. into the Paris Climate Agreement, after President Trump withdrew from the deal in 2017.

Reide Corbett, the Executive Director of the Coastal Studies program at ECU, said that the goal of the deal is to work towards a healthier Earth.

“We’re seeing these global temperatures increase year after year after year, and that has significant ramifications,” Corbett explained.

He points to the rising river levels and intense storms we see here in North Carolina as examples of how climate change has affected our world thus far.

“The overarching objective of the climate agreement was to prevent global temperatures from exceeding 1 and a half degrees Celsius.”

In our end of the world, that cap is at 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

“So that means within 30 years, the US is committing to reduce their carbon emission so there’s no net carbon released into the atmosphere,” added Tom Rickenbach, an atmospheric science professor at ECU.

You may have heard of net zero, which means we put no more carbon emissions into the air than we are able to take out.

Rickenbach suggested we’ll soon see more efforts to make fighting climate change economically viable, like seeing more electric cars and ways to promote renewable energy.

Yet this move from Biden is symbolic, as well. Corbett referred to it as an “olive branch.”

“We are stating outright that ‘yes, climate change is happening and we are willing to be partners in trying to correct some of the challenges we have moving forward,’” said Corbett.

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