Analysis & Opinions - East Asia Forum Quarterly

Domestic Challenges Could Limit New US Climate Policy

| January–March 2021

AFTER US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were inaugurated on 20 January this year, the new administration initiated the process of re-joining the Paris Agreement on climate change. Thirty days after the necessary paperwork was filed with the United Nations, the United States resumed its status as a party to the agreement. Shortly after Inauguration Day, more executive orders were issued, including one which identified climate change as having a central role in foreign and national security policy.

That was the easy part. The hard part is coming up with a quantitative statement of how and by how much US emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) will be reduced over time in a new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The new NDC needs to be sufficiently ambitious to satisfy (at least to some degree) both domestic green groups and key countries within the international community—despite the likelihood that Biden and his special envoy for climate, John Kerry, will initially be warmly welcomed by most world leaders....

For more information on this publication: Please contact Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
For Academic Citation: Stavins, Robert N.“Domestic Challenges Could Limit New US Climate Policy.” East Asia Forum Quarterly, January–March 2021.

The Author

Robert N. Stavins