USA And Paris Accord: Take Two

It took less than a day in office for President Joe Biden to reverse the previous administration's stand on the 2015 Paris climate change accord and revoke the federal permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Paris accord logoBiden’s quick signatures on policy declarations were highly anticipated as he launched the government’s return to science-based decision making after four years of widely criticized science-denial by the Trump administration.

How this will play out for the nuclear power industry is less clear than the implications for the coal mining industry. Donald Trump was a fan of coal power, which is a substantial greenhouse gas emissions contributor. Also uncertain is the new administration’s stand on natural gas power, which is cleaner than coal, but still contributes to global warming.

If the current administration sticks to a purely science-based platform, nuclear power will clearly find a solid role to play in the nation’s ongoing battle with harmful carbon emissions. The Biden administration is set to ramp up the previous national goal of reducing emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of levels produced in 2005 by the year 2025. “The United States urgently needs to embrace a greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge,” the new administration has proclaimed.

The new plan is expected to attempt more ambitious greenhouse gas reductions and move the target back to 2030. However, to accomplish its goals, the Biden team will have to persuade republicans in the senate to go along or, according to Nuclear Engineering International, it will have to do an end-run and negotiate directly with states or business leaders to formulate a climate control plan.

With this in the foreground, the background remains scientifically clear that the Paris accords, signed by 195 countries, were not strident enough to halt substantial impacts of climate change. The accord sets the goals of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by 2030, acknowledging that stronger measures were needed.

Nuclear power, meanwhile, remains a hot potato, a difficult sell especially with democrats in charge. NEI quoted president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Nuclear Energy Institute as saying, “The NEI looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress on the development and implementation of federal policies and legislative proposals needed to meet our national commitments as defined by this agreement.”

“We are proud to be part of [the] solution,” she said.

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    "Biden’s quick signatures on policy declarations were highly anticipated as he launched the government’s return to science-based decision making after four years of widely criticized science-denial by the Trump administration. How this will play out for the nuclear power industry is less clear than the implications for the coal mining industry. Donald Trump was a fan of coal power, which is a substantial greenhouse gas emissions contributor. Also uncertain is the new administration’s stand on natural gas power, which is cleaner than coal, but still contributes to global warming."

    So now we're back to the catch phrase "Global Warming"? I thought we were trying to use more non-descript phrases like "Climate Change" that allows for both and increase and decrease in Global Temperatures?