The international climate community was jubilant on Saturday, as the US presidential election was called for Joe Biden.
Four nail-biting days after polling day, Biden secured the swing state of Pennsylvania. On top of wins in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, the state’s 20 electoral college votes took him over the line.
Biden made tackling climate change a key plank of his campaign. He pledged to re-join the Paris Agreement, aim for net zero emissions by 2050 and invest in renewable energy.
The Democrats are expected to retain control of the House of Representatives but underperformed in the Senate, which will make it harder for Biden to pass climate legislation.
He replaces Donald Trump, who pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, described climate change as a “hoax” and slowed down the transition to clean energy.
Frank Bainimarama, Fiji Prime Minister
Together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency and a global economy to build back better from #COVID19.
Now, more than ever, we need the USA at the helm of these multilateral efforts (and back in the #ParisAgreement — ASAP!) pic.twitter.com/mhX9HWR5HI
— Frank Bainimarama (@FijiPM) November 7, 2020
Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North America director 350.org
Joe Biden’s win is an opportunity for all of us that are fighting for another day, As we celebrate the hard won moment we are cautiously optimistic about the road ahead and will push for the greatest possible action on climate for our communities now and in the future.
Ana Toni, executive director of Instituto Clima e Sociedade
Bolsonaro and Biden, at least the Biden side, will be quite pragmatic in their relationship. Biden knows Brazil very well. He has been here several times and he knows a lot of the players. The relationship between Biden and Bolsonaro will be more tense because of some key issues – human rights, environment, climate change. But there is a lot of economic interest for both sides so they will try to have a very pragmatic alignment. Brazil will be isolated because Bolsonaro tries to be as radical as Trump. Brazil could be named and shamed over deforestation, biodiversity and the Amazon.
Barbara Kvac, expert at Slovenia’s Focus Association for Sustainable Development
As Slovenia is to hold the EU Presidency in the second half of 2021, when COP26 is to be held, the cooperation with Biden’s administration on climate change will be inevitable. However, the siding of our prime minister with Donald Trump and declaring his victory while the votes were not yet counted might mean that extra work will need to be invested into building the relationship and trust between the countries first.
Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation
As the climate community around the world celebrates the results of the US election, the scales tip even further toward a net-zero emissions future. We welcome the US’s return to the table of global climate leaders, joining the EU, China, Japan, and others with considerable ambition and a promise to work with other countries on their transitions. The Biden-Harris administration has an historic opportunity to enact one of the world’s largest green stimulus efforts, to accelerate the US economy toward sustained emissions reductions while rebuilding and creating a fairer society. Building Back Better is not just a domestic effort: US climate leadership can and should support a green and just transition in developing countries around the world.
Alok Sharma, Cop26 president designate
Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris – very much looking forward to working with the US on climate action and #COP26 and thank you for your commitment to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement https://t.co/OSMjLqfBk3
— Alok Sharma (@AlokSharma_RDG) November 7, 2020
Nick Mabey, CEO environmental think tank E3G
Climate change comes of age in UK geopolitically as Boris Johnson puts it top of his list for cooperation with President Biden. Even without [the] Senate, the US [is] critical to shifting global climate action through IMF, World Bank & building climate alliances with major economies.
Featuring Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of UN Climate Change
Thank you, United States! The election of @JoeBiden is huge not just for America, but for the world. Here’s how it landed with @CFigueres to see that the US is on it’s way back into the #ParisAgreement #ElectionDay @UNFCCC pic.twitter.com/iaDpELx2mb
— Tom Rivett-Carnac (@tomcarnac) November 7, 2020
Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense Fund
For Americans who care about clean air, clean water and healthy communities, Joe Biden’s policies can open a new window of opportunity for real progress. The United States can now focus on the well-being of the American people — especially those most impacted by pollution and climate change.
Stopping the spread of Covid-19 and getting help to struggling workers and businesses must be the new administration’s first priority. But as we turn to the work of rebuilding better — not simply restoring what we had before — it is time to get to work building clean cars, trucks and buses and clean energy, for an America with less pollution, more jobs and equity for our hardest-hit communities.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris understand the need for a rapid energy transition. Americans overwhelmingly support clean energy and climate action as well.
Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency
Looking forward to supporting President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris to help the United States — a founding member of the IEA — meet its energy & climate goals and speed-up global clean energy transitions.
.@JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris, you said you we were going to build back better.
We’ll be here to make sure you do.
— Sunrise Movement 🌅 (@sunrisemvmt) November 7, 2020
Niklas Höhne, founder of the NewClimate Institute
Taken together, the US and China going to net zero emissions would reduce our estimate of end-of-century warming to 2.3-2.4C, taking the world 25-40% of the way towards limiting warming to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit. What can other countries now do other than follow this overwhelming trend to net zero greenhouse gas emissions?
Bill Hare, CEO of Climate Analytics
This could be an historic tipping point: with Biden’s election China, the USA , EU, Japan South Korea – two thirds of the world economy and over 50% of global GHG emissions – would have net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century commitments.
These commitments are very close, if not within, 1.5C-consistent pathways for this set of countries and for the first time ever puts the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C limit within striking distance.
The US has now formally left the Paris Agreement, but this will be a short hiatus. President-elect Joe Biden has a lot of catching up to do: first to reverse the Trump Administration’s anti-climate moves, then begin to move the country in the right direction, but he will be surfing a new wave of global ambition.
Alexandria Villaseñor, US climate justice activist
WE’RE GOING BACK INTO THE PARIS AGREEMENT!!!
— Alexandria Villaseñor is waiting patiently (@AlexandriaV2005) November 7, 2020
Sue Reid, principal advisor on finance at Mission 2020
Biden’s victory positions the US to regain its competitive position in the global marketplace as nations and businesses race to transition to net zero emissions economies. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to prop up outdated and polluting fossil fuels over the past four years, clean energy has proven its resilience and ability to win in the market. Now, as Trump-era headwinds are reversed, clean energy is expected to scale much more rapidly and deliver on its unparalleled promise for job creation, pollution reduction and economic opportunity. Investors are ready to ride this tidal wave.
Nigel Topping, UK high-level climate action champion
Coogratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris – looking forward to a flurry of US entrants into the #RaceToZero now!!! https://t.co/9xMeEsfvYU
— Nigel Topping (@topnigel) November 7, 2020
Paul Watkinson, French climate diplomat
Looking forward to the US rejoining the Paris Agreement is a couple of months.
Jagoda Munić, director of Friends of the Earth Europe
Biden’s narrow victory offers a glimmer of hope for people and the planet.
European leaders must go all out now to help President-elect Biden make transformational action on the climate and planetary crisis a priority. This may be the last administration that can prevent catastrophic climate breakdown – the EU and US must deliver the fair share of climate action people and the planet need.
We applaud our colleagues and movements in the USA, who have mobilised with success and will continue to use massive grassroots power to push Biden to act boldly to protect peace, people and the planet, and to hold him accountable.
Tasneem Essop, executive director of Climate Action Network International
We can all breath a bit easier today. Thank you to all in the US who worked and fought so hard to get us here. A triumph of democracy over fascism. Congratulations Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Bill McKibben, climate activist and founder 350.org
Hearing from lots of friends and colleagues on all continents:
1) Welcome back to the community of nations
2) At the last possible moment in the fight to slow down climate devastation
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) November 7, 2020
Leah Stokes, assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara
It’s clear that Biden won in part because of climate voters. He got significant donations from the climate community and young people turned out in unprecedented numbers to vote for him. He has a strong mandate to govern on this issue, and given how much the campaign focused on climate, I know he will prioritize it.
Lord Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
Biden’s victory should set America back on course to play a leading role in global efforts to fight climate change. And the rest of the world is moving, with strong commitments over the last year in Europe, China, Japan, and many countries across the world to go to net zero emissions by mid-century.
However, even with America’s re-entry into the Paris Agreement and President Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate plan, we are unlikely to see global action with the urgency and scale we need over the next decade to move fast enough towards net zero to give us a good chance of limiting warming to well below 2C, unless more countries raise their climate ambitions. The next four years are crucial, and with a US President in office who once again recognises global warming as an existential threat to humanity we have a chance, if we work together, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. There is much work to do but President Biden’s leadership will be of profound importance.
Todd Stern, former special envoy for climate change at the State Department under Barack Obama
And so: exactly 3 days after officially leaving the Paris Agreement, the United States of America is on its way BACK. Get Ready. Thank you Mr. President-Elect, @joebiden!
— Todd Stern (@tsterndc) November 7, 2020
Kat Kramer, Christian Aid’s senior climate lead
This is a significant victory for the climate which should have a material impact on efforts to accelerate the transition to a zero carbon world….. It’s now essential that Biden ensures the US makes up for lost time and moves quickly to implement green recovery policies which will accelerate the shift to a cleaner and safer world for all.
Peter Erickson, climate policy programme director at Stockholm Environment Institute US Centre
A Biden administration means the US can get back to work on climate. The way forward won’t be easy, but we can expect the US to re-engage internationally, use executive action to slow or reverse damaging environmental rollbacks, build back up leadership at federal agencies, and potentially pursue job creation in clean industries.
Incoming Vice President Kamala Harris could also make good on her proposal to seek an international agreement to manage the decline of fossil fuel production.
Gilles Dufrasne, policy officer at Carbon Market Watch
This is good news for the climate, and will certainly boost carbon pricing and carbon markets. President-elect Biden should bring his country swiftly back to the Paris Agreement, where the US can also play an important role in ensuring the integrity of future global carbon markets. Trump’s departure from the White House also means that there will be less resistance to State-level carbon pricing systems, even if Biden has not formally supported a federal-level carbon pricing policy. Carbon pricing schemes continue to expand around the world and the election result makes it even more important to ensure their integrity, transparency, and coherence.
Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister and President of the Asia Society Policy Institute
Biden’s victory is a massive shot in the arm for the international fight against climate change. Amongst many other things, his commitment to rejoin the Paris Agreement on day one and quickly ramp up US ambition in the fight against climate change will help make the world safer.
Restoring a cooperative relationship on climate change must also be at the centre of the President-elect’s China strategy, even if the overall relationship is likely to remain difficult. Together, the world’s two largest emitters can help drive down global temperature forecasts even further, including by laying the groundwork for each other to be able to do more individually.
Biden’s election also helps put every country on notice that they too must ramp up their Paris targets by the time we get to COP26 in Glasgow next year. Countries like Australia will no longer be able to get a leave pass for doing nothing.
Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their election as the next President and Vice President of the United States of America.
Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and allies. We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action around the world.
I look forward to working with President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, their administration, and the United States Congress as we tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.
Stefan Löfven, Swedish Prime Minister
My warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris. Looking forward to strengthening excellent US-Swedish relations and to work jointly for multilateralism, democracy and global security. Together, we can lead a green transition creating jobs for the future.
— SwedishPM (@SwedishPM) November 7, 2020
Andrew Steer, President of the World Resources Institute
In his first 100 days, Biden can set a new course by expediting the energy transition and by restoring rules and regulations that protect public health and the environment. Biden should work with Congress to take action through economic recovery packages and the budget process that will enhance climate resilience, reduce emissions, and expand clean energy.
By re-entering the Paris Agreement on Day One, President-elect Biden can boost confidence in the international cooperation and begin to restore U.S. standing the world. He should put forward a national climate plan with ambitious emissions targets that will accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy…
Biden made climate change a pillar of his campaign and his victory affirms that climate action can be a winning issue. With climate-related disasters on the rise and the benefits of action becoming clearer, a growing and diverse movement of Americans want national leadership. They want clean energy jobs that benefit everyone. They want policy making guided by science and evidence. They want a world that is healthier, more equitable, and more resilient. This is a new day for the climate, the environment and the American people. The opportunity for a better tomorrow is possible. There’s not a minute to lose.
Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
As Vice President, Joe Biden was a close friend of New Zealand and visited here in 2016, the most senior US politician to do so since Bill Clinton attended APEC in 1999.
New Zealand will continue to work side-by-side with the United States on the issues that matter to both of us, including the prosperity, security and sustainability in the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions.
The campaign by the President-elect has also shown the shared interests we have in addressing global challenges like Covid-19 and climate change.
Alexander van der Bellen, President of Austria
My warmest congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris on their historic victory in the #USElection2020. Only together, as international community of states, we can master the great challenges of our time such as combating the climate crisis or the Covid-19 pandemic. (1/2)
— A. Van der Bellen (@vanderbellen) November 7, 2020
Charles Michel, President of European Council
Congratulations to @JoeBiden and @KamalaHarris #EU is ready to engage for a strong transatlantic partnership.
COVID-19, multilateralism, climate change and international trade are some of the challenges which Europe wants to address together.#EUCO https://t.co/lPKdcHjMdl
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) November 7, 2020
Ibrahim Mohammed Solih, President of the Maldives
Congratulations to President-Elect @JoeBiden on his election as the 46th President of the United States. I look forward to working with your administration on issues of mutual concern from global efforts to recover from COVID-19 to responding to the climate emergency.
— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (@ibusolih) November 7, 2020
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
My full comment on the outcome of #Election2020 #BidenHarris2020 pic.twitter.com/2RVBfqafKi
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 7, 2020
Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of Greece
Congratulations to @JoeBiden, new President-Elect of the USA and @KamalaHarris, first female Vice-President. Looking forward to extending our cooperation and friendship under your presidency. Welcoming the US again to the #ParisAgreement on climate change is the first step!
— President GR (@PresidencyGR) November 7, 2020
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
Congratulations @JoeBiden on your win as President elect of the United States of America. I wish you well in office and look forward to further strengthening our countries relations on crucial matters such as climate change and human rights.
— Katrín Jakobsdóttir (@katrinjak) November 7, 2020
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia
We also look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his administration to…develop new technologies to reduce global emissions as we practically confront the challenge of climate change.
Sebastian Pinera, President of Chile
Chile and the USA share many values, such as freedom and the defence of human rights, and challenges like the commitment for peace and the protection of the environment.
Ivan Duque, President of Colombia
We will work together to strengthen the common agenda in trade, environment, security and the fight against transnational crime.