Joe Biden to set the tone by reentering the Paris Agreement, revoking Keystone XL permits – Greenpeace response


January 20, 2021

"For communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not enough to simply undo Trump’s damage, or even to Build Back Better. We must Build Back Fossil Free."

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

Following through on his campaign promise, President Joe Biden will officially initiate the process [1] for the United States to rejoin the Paris climate agreement today. The decision will mark a critical new era in global climate diplomacy in which the United States must make up for both its historical role as a climate polluter and the last four years of fossil fuel expansion and broken trust under Trump. As reported earlier this week, Biden will also revoke federal permits for the Keystone XL pipeline and begin to undo the Trump administration’s nearly 100 environmental rollbacks.

In response, Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Janet Redman said:

“Rejoining the Paris climate agreement is a no-brainer for President Biden, and a move we’re glad to see him take on day one in office. But, if the whole world is going to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the United States has a responsibility to go deeper and get there much faster. Rejoining the Paris agreement is the floor, not the ceiling, for the Biden administration on climate. Biden must now roll up his sleeves and do the real work to deliver climate justice — revoking federal permits for the Keystone XL pipeline is a great start. We hope to see Biden go further and do everything in his power to stop other climate-wrecking pipelines like Line 3 and Dakota Access this week, as well as make the investments workers and communities need to thrive in a renewable energy economy. For communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not enough to simply undo Trump’s damage, or even to Build Back Better. We must Build Back Fossil Free.”

“Phasing out fossil fuels and initiating a just transition to renewable energy is our best chance to avoid climate chaos and expand economic opportunity in the process. By ending oil, gas, and coal extraction, Joe Biden can stop corporations like Exxon, Shell, Chevron, and BP from polluting communities of color for their profit. By pairing policies to rein in the fossil fuel industry with investments in job creation and economic diversification, we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive in the renewable energy economy. Passing a bold, Green New Deal-style economic recovery package would create nearly 16 million new jobs and sustain them over the next critical decade [2]. The Biden administration has a chance to ensure millions more people have access to union benefits and healthcare, working in jobs that restore our climate rather than pollute it.”

With his commitment to the Paris climate agreement affirmed and one toxic pipeline squashed, Biden must continue delivering on his broader promise to prioritize climate, racial, and economic justice. The Build Back Fossil Free campaign identifies 25 specific executive actions Biden can take starting day one in office to address the climate crisis, end fossil fuel racism, and improve well-being for millions of people.

Together, these actions will:

  • Protect and invest in the Black, Indigenous, Brown, and working-class communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution and climate disasters.
  • Reject new fossil fuel projects, eliminate giveaways to oil gas, and coal corporations, and end the era of fossil fuel production.
  • Launch a national climate mobilization to Build Back Fossil Free, deliver jobs, justice, and opportunity for all.

Today, Biden is also expected to take decisive action to overturn Trump’s Muslim ban, extend pandemic restrictions on evictions, pause federal student loan payments, and more in an effort to reverse the damage of the Trump era. Greenpeace urges Joe Biden to use all the tools at his disposal, including both executive action and signing new legislation into law, to avert further climate devastation while helping people recover from the pandemic.



[1] In accordance with United Nations Article 21, the United States will officially rejoin the Paris climate agreement in 30 days. The president has the legal authority to reenter the agreement without a vote from the Senate.


Contact: Ryan Schleeter, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (415) 342-2386, [email protected]


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