In a statement marking five years since the signing of the Paris Agreement, President-elect Joe Biden announced plans to convene the leaders of major economies for a climate summit within his first 100 days in office.

The President-elect also reiterated a promise made immediately after the election to return the US to the Paris Agreement, and to put the US on a sustainable path to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

The Paris Agreement is a multi-nation pact developed by parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to combat climate change. The agreement’s main goal is to limit the global temperature increase in this century to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to work toward limiting the increase to 1.5 degrees.

The Trump administration announced in June 2017 that it intended to withdraw from the agreement, claiming the economic cost of the accord was too high, and unfair to the United States, and the withdrawal became effective immediately following the election in November 2020. 189 nations have ratified the agreement, and the U.S. is the only country to have formally exited.

The incoming administration has clearly signalled its intention to more aggressively tackle climate change. In addition to promising to rejoin the international accord, the Biden-Harris transition team has established climate policy as one of the incoming administration’s top priorities, and has made key appointments including Former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate – the first time the NSC will include an official dedicated to climate change – and sustainable investing veteran and Paris Agreement negotiator Brian Deese as Director of the National Economic Council.

Biden wrote:

“As we mark this anniversary, I am grateful to leaders around the world and across the country — at all levels — who remained steadfast in their commitment to the goals we embraced five years ago in Paris. And, under a Biden-Harris Administration, America will be back working with our partners around the world to ensure we realize those goals for the sake of our families and future generations.”