U.S. president Joe Biden is billed to bring America back to the international Paris Agreement to fight climate change.
The announcements will also include a sweeping order to review all of ex-President Donald Trump’s actions weakening climate change protections, the revocation of a vital permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Canada, and a moratorium on oil and gas leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that Trump’s administration had recently opened to development, Biden aides said.
The orders will mark the start of a major policy reversal in the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China, after four years during which Trump’s administration pilloried climate science and rolled back environmental regulation to maximize fossil fuel development.
Biden has promised to put the United States on a track to net-zero emissions by 2050 to match the steep and swift global cuts that scientists say are needed to avoid the most devastating impacts of global warming, using curbs on fossil fuels and massive investments in clean energy.
The path won’t be easy, though, with political divisions in the United States, opposition from fossil fuel companies, and wary international partners concerned about U.S. policy shifts obstructing the way.
“We got off track very severely for the last four years with a climate denier in the Oval Office,” said John Podesta, an adviser to former President Barack Obama who helped craft the 2015 Paris Agreement. “We enter the international arena with a credibility deficit.”
Biden’s orders will also require government agencies to consider revising vehicle fuel efficiency standards and methane emissions curbs, and to study the possibility of re-expanding the boundaries of wilderness national monuments that had been reduced in size by the Trump administration.
Global counterparts and climate advocates welcomed Washington’s return to cooperation on climate change, but expressed some skepticism about its staying power, and its ability to overcome domestic political turmoil to enact ambitious new regulation.
Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris deal late last year, arguing it was too costly to the U.S. economy and would provide little tangible benefit, and swept away scores of environmental protections he saw as onerous to drillers, miners, and manufacturers.
“The United States continues to be the one and only country that has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, making it, frankly, the pariah of this multilateral agreement,” former U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres, told Reuters.
Biden can regain U.S. credibility by “doing the domestic homework” of ambitious climate action at home.
Brian Deese, Biden’s incoming director of the National Economic Council, told Reuters that the United States hopes to encourage other big emitters to also “push their ambition, even as we have to demonstrate our ability to come back on the stage and show leadership.”
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, said China, the world’s top carbon emitter, “looks forward” to the return of the United States to the Paris pact.
The climate envoy from the low-lying Marshall Islands, meanwhile, suggested the United States could help press for stronger climate commitments around the globe.
“The world is looking to the Biden-Harris administration to generate solutions to the climate crisis, reinvigorate commitment to the Paris Agreement, and ensure that countries around the world can deliver a green and resilient recovery from COVID-19,” Tina Eonemto Stege said.
Pete Betts, an associate fellow at London-based think tank Chatham House who led climate negotiations for the European Union when the Paris deal was struck, said the United States will need to match its promises with financial commitments too.
The United States under Obama pledged to deliver $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help vulnerable countries fight climate change. It has delivered only $1 billion so far.
“The U.S. will need to put some money on the table, and also encourage others to do the same,” he said.
Biden has tapped former Secretary of State John Kerry as his international climate envoy and is expected to set up a meeting in the coming weeks with global counterparts.
NNPC, LEKOIL Mourn Chief Festus Marinho
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has lamented the death of the pioneer Managing Director of the Corporation, Chief Festus Remi Ayodele Marinho.
A press release by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated that Chief Marinho, who passed away yesterday, was the first and only Managing Director of the defunct Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) – the forerunner of NNPC – and the only one who served twice as Group Managing Director of NNPC having served from 1977-1979 and 1984-1985 respectively.
His last appointment was made by President Muhammadu Buhari as Head of State.
In a condolence message to the family of the late NNPC boss, Mallam Kyari described Chief Marinho as “the Father of Oil & Gas Industry in Nigeria” because of the pioneering roles he played in the crafting of the institutional framework, infrastructural development and international best practices being used in the Corporation till date.
“His role in refinery and pipeline construction and human capacity development are all testimonies of his contribution to national development,” Mallam Kyari stated.
He said Chief Marinho’s visionary leadership provided the foundation for what has come to be known as “Nigerian content”, adding that his achievements in the Corporation would be a beacon and inspiration for many future generations of staff and leaders.
“He was indeed a rare gem and we will surely miss his wisdom and wealth of experience,” the GMD stated.
Similarly, the management of Lekoil, the oil and gas exploration and production company with a focus on Nigeria and West Africa, announces the passing away of its pioneer Chairman, Chief Festus Marinho earlier this week.
Chief Marinho was a leading light in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry as he devoted his entire career to developing the industry which is today the mainstay of the economy. He served as pioneer Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from 1977 to 1979 and served a second term between 1984 and 1985.
“Words will fail us to describe the enthusiasm and devotion exhibited by Chief Marinho while he served as Lekoil Chairman. Even after retirement from our Board, he remained a confidant and advisor to me personally. He will be sorely missed.,” Lekan Akinyanmi, Chief Executive Officer of Lekoil said.
Chief Marinho was Chairman of Lekoil between 2011 to 2013 and oversaw the groundwork of the company which has grown to become a major indigenous oil and gas industry player in West Africa.
“His insights and passion for industry growth will be sorely missed. We express our deepest condolences to his family,” Mr. Akinyanmi said.
Born on 30, December 1934 in Ijebu-Ode, Chief Marinho’s childhood was spent at the “Brazilian Quarters” of Lagos Island where he attended St. Gregory’s College.
In 1956, he matriculated into the University College, Ibadan, became a ’College Scholar’ in 1957 and graduated with Bachelor of Science (Special Honours) in Physics in 1960. He thereafter proceeded to Imperial College, London for post-graduate studies in Petroleum Reservoir Engineering from 1960 to 1961.
During his years of service, he contributed to drafting many of the legislations that continue to guide the oil and gas industry.
A devout Catholic, Chief Marinho was recipient of numerous professional, social and religious awards, including the Papal knighthood of St. Sylvester.
He is survived by his wife, Chief (Mrs.) Yetunde Oreoluwa Marinho, 5 children, 14 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.