Make America green again? Why Biden already has climate activists breathing a sigh of relief

Environmentalists and those on the front line of climate change have told Sky News of their relief at seeing Joe Biden sworn in as America’s new president.
The inauguration of a new world leader who describes climate change as an “existential threat” is a lifeline for countries whose people and land are being devastated by global warming.

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Tina Stege is climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, a group of atolls lying just two metres above sea level in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
She said: “For a country like mine which is really on the front lines of climate change, we now have optimism. It’s got to be cautious optimism when the challenges are this big.

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“But with a partner like the US and with all the resources that the US can bring to bear, with this president we are at the start of a process that provides some hope.”

Immediately after taking office, Mr Biden signed executive orders to rejoin the landmark Paris climate agreement (which Donald Trump pulled out of), when countries came together in 2015 to pledge to reduce devastating levels of global emissions.

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Mr Biden has also rolled back a host of executive orders put in place by Mr Trump which weakened efforts to tackle climate change.
They include revoking the presidential permit granted to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline delivering hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil each day from Canada to be refined in the US.

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Joye Braun has been fighting the pipeline for a decade and was – as she calls it – “boots on the ground” from day one “until we were evicted”.
A member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Indigenous Environmental Network, she said: “To have Keystone Pipeline XL go through is a climate changer – we’ve always said that. It’s an absolute necessity that the Keystone XL pipeline be stopped.
“Watching the inauguration, I felt a huge sigh of relief. For 10 years I’ve been working on this. We’ve gone cold, we’ve gone hungry. Thank you President Biden.”

Image: Joye Braun (L) has been fighting the pipeline for a decade
Throughout his campaign Mr Biden had promised rejoin the Paris agreement on “day one” of his presidency.
America will be back in the club in 30 days after notifying the United Nations.
Remy Rioux, the head of the French development agency, was a lead negotiator for the Paris agreement.
He said: “I remember in 2015 it was an executive order by President Obama which had the US joining the Paris agreement so there’s no need for Congress approval to join or to come back within the agreement. President Trump withdrew by a single executive order as well so it can be very fast.”

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While Mr Biden wants to be a global leader on the climate, his credibility rests on transforming decarbonising the US.
He’s promised a $2tn plan to create millions of jobs in clean energy and energy retrofits.
His climate strategy is underpinned by the belief that the climate is inextricably linked to America’s health, wealth and national security.
He subscribes to a global recovery from coronavirus being green and will likely announce net zero goals.

Source : Sky News