New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 20, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Pamela McElwee and Robert E. Kopp are available for interviews on the announcement that President Biden’s administration will rejoin the Paris climate agreement.
In 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the agreement, effective Nov. 4, 2020. Biden, however, 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, along with 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 in the second half of this century.
McElwee, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, can comment on what may be likely in a revised U.S. nationally determined contribution (NDC). NDCs are national plans for reducing emissions and adapting to climate change. She can also comment on how United States’ and other countries’ NDCs compare and how the United States can leverage additional policies, such as international climate finance, to help other countries fulfill their plans.
“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is just the first step. The U.S. now needs to ramp up a far more ambitious NDC with aggressive short-term emissions cuts by 2030 and a long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” McElwee said. “Other countries will also be looking to see if these actions are durable and could withstand another change of administration in the future. The Biden administration will need to show the world we are not just back in the game, we will be there through the final inning.”
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 in 2015, and I applaud President Biden’s decision to rejoin it.”
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