Scientist Michael Mann argued that the United States must go “far beyond the Paris commitments” when President Joe Biden rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement on Friday.
“We have to increase commitments now if we want to stay on course to avoid a catastrophic three-degree-Fahrenheit warming,” Mann, author of “The New Climate War,” said during an interview Friday night on CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith “. “We have to increase our commitments and the other countries of the world have to.”
The decision to re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement was a departure from the Trump administration’s climate policy. In 2017, former President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement. It formally notified the United Nations in 2019 and the United States abandoned the Paris Agreement the following year after a waiting period. Mann explained that during that time, the United States “lost four years of opportunity here to tackle the greatest challenge we face.”
Joel Rubin, a former deputy assistant secretary of state in the Obama-Biden administration, told “The News with Shepard Smith” that there is now a higher bar for America’s return to the climate battle on the world stage.
“The world has moved on from US leadership on climate and will be skeptical of our commitment to stay engaged,” said the national security expert who worked on both climate change policies and renewable energy programs in the Clinton and Bush administrations. “This has always been the albatross around the American role in multilateral climate diplomacy: the lack of strong legislative support.”
Nationally, the crisis in Texas exposed how vulnerable power grids can be during extreme weather, which experts warn could be made worse by climate change. National Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall even highlighted the danger of climate change during a press conference at the White House on Thursday.
“The extreme weather events that we are experiencing this week in the central, southern and now eastern United States show us once again that climate change is real and that it is happening now, and that we are not adequately prepared for it, “Sherwood-Randall said.
Mann explained that climate change could be a contributing factor to distress in Texas amid freezing temperatures.
“There is some evidence that climate change could be causing an increase in incidents of these types of events, but there is no doubt that if we collectively look at all the extreme weather events that we have seen in recent years, the unprecedented heat waves and droughts and wildfires and super storms, we can see the imprint of human influence on our climate in these devastating events, “Mann said.
Rubin said Biden’s next task is to pass legislation to create a significant change in reducing America’s carbon footprint, so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen more often.
“Doing this would not only be a strong signal to the world that we are serious, but it would ultimately break the Gordian knot that has undermined America’s credibility on the world stage when it comes to fighting climate change,” said Rubin . “This is a necessary political battle. It will be brutal, but the alternative of not having it is much worse.”