World leaders cheer US return to climate fight under Biden

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In this Friday, April 24, 2020 file photo, activists place thousands of protest placards in front of the Reichstag building, home of the german federal parliament, Bundestag, during a protest rally of the 'Fridays for Future' movement in Berlin, Germany. World leaders breathed an audible sigh of relief that the United States under President Joe Biden is rejoining the global effort to curb climate change, a cause that his predecessor had shunned. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

BERLIN – World leaders breathed an audible sigh of relief that the United States under President Joe Biden is rejoining the global effort to curb climate change, a cause that his predecessor had shunned over the past four years.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron were among those welcoming Biden's decision to rejoin the the Paris climate accord, reversing a key Trump policy in the first hours of his presidency Wednesday.

“Rejoining the Paris Agreement is hugely positive news,” tweeted Johnson, whose country is hosting this year's U.N. climate summit.

Macron said that with Biden, “we will be stronger to face the challenges of our time. Stronger to build our future. Stronger to protect our planet.”

The Paris accord, forged in the French capital in 2015, commits countries to put forward plans for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, which is released from burning fossil fuels.

As president, Donald Trump questioned the scientific warnings about man-made global warming, at times accusing other countries of using the Paris accord as a club to hurt Washington. The U.S. formally left the pact in November.

“The United States departure from it has definitely diminished our capacities to change things, concretely to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

“Now we are dealing with an administration that is conscious of what is at stake and that is very committed to use the voice of the United States, a voice that is very powerful on the international level,” she said.