New Brunswick, N.J. (Nov. 4, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on the Paris climate agreement following the 2020 election.

In 2017, President Trump announced that the United States will withdraw from the agreement, and the withdrawal took effect today. His election opponent, Joe Biden, has pledged to recommit to the agreement.

The agreement, reached at a 2015 United Nations climate change conference, aims to limit the negative impacts of global warming. It set a target of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, as well as pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The signatories also committed to eliminating global net carbon dioxide emissions within the second half of the century.

Kopp, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the School of Arts and Sciences can talk about the science motivating the Paris agreement.

“To stabilize the global climate, the world needs to get its net carbon dioxide emissions to zero and sharply reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases. That’s just a fact – it’s a consequence of physics and chemistry,” said Kopp, director of the Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “It’s also the vision behind the Paris agreement. United States leadership played a critical role in uniting the world behind this vision, and the U.S. should continue to play a leadership role in making it a reality.”

McElwee, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, can comment on the international situation and impact of the election on pledges and goals in other countries. She can also comment on the current progress toward meeting the long-term goal of 2 degrees Celsius or less.

“Even though the Trump administration announced in 2017 that they were withdrawing from the Paris agreement, remarkably, no other country followed them,” McElwee said. “If anything, this move strengthened other countries’ resolve to stay in. Having the U.S. quickly return to the agreement under a Biden win would likely kick-start a new round of pledges, and the U.S. has a chance to match our ambitions to the increasingly dire forecasts of climate science.”



Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

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