Last reviewed 21 January 2021

Newly-elected US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to rejoin the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order committing the US to rejoin the Paris climate agreement — reversing former president Trump’s decision in 2019 to pull the US out of the international climate agreement.

The Paris Agreement came into force in 2015 and commits over 180 countries to ensuring global warming does not rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels — the level scientists agree is the minimum safe level beyond which climate change is likely to become unpredictable and irreversible.

Newly-appointed Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change, John Kerry, is no stranger to the climate agreement. As former secretary of state, Kerry helped broker the landmark Paris Agreement and signed it on behalf of the United States, watched by his granddaughter.

Speaking about the new President to the Economic Times, John Kerry, said Biden "rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, restoring America's credibility and commitment — setting a floor, not a ceiling, for our climate leadership. Working together, the world must and will raise ambition. It's time to get to work — the road to Glasgow begins here."

Details of the Executive Order outlining US acceptance of the Paris Agreement by US President Biden has already been deposited with the UN Secretary-General and will enter into force for the US on February 19, according to an official statement.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres welcomed the US re-entry into the climate agreement. In an emailed statement, he wrote: "We look forward to the leadership of United States in accelerating global efforts towards net zero."

The decision by President Biden to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement means that the US will once again play a key role in the forthcoming climate emergency conference which will be held in Glasgow next November.