U.S. rejoins Paris pact 'with humility' -Kerry

Scientists and foreign diplomats have welcomed the U.S. return to the treaty, which became official 30 days after President Joe Biden ordered the move on his first day in office.

Since nearly 200 countries signed the 2015 pact to prevent catastrophic climate change, the United States has been the only country to exit. Then-President Donald Trump took the step, claiming climate action would cost too much.

Video Transcript

JOHN KERRY: I really, I think we have to end the word "climate change" and own up to the fact it is the climate crisis now. And that's why President Biden submitted the paperwork to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement as soon as he could, hours after he was sworn in. Today, as you heard and as you know, it is absolutely official. The United States is once again a party to the Paris Agreement. And I'm proud and pleased with that fact. But it also places on us a special responsibility.

We rejoin the international climate effort with humility and with ambition. Humility knowing that we lost four years during which America was absent from the table. And humility in knowing that today no country and no continent is getting the job done. But also with ambition knowing that Paris alone will not do what science tells us we must do together.

So to be on track to keep even a 66% probability of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees, to do that we need to cut global emissions in half by 2030. So that means we need to phase out coal five times faster than we have been. We need to increase tree cover five times faster. We need to ramp up renewable energy six times faster. We need to transition to electric vehicles at a rate 22 times faster. You get the drift? Everything has to be done with greater sense of urgency, with a determination that we have to win this fight.