In the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases. It was negotiated in 2015 with lots of prodding by the US and China and went into effect on November 4, 2016.

Democratic US presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden speaks about the results of the 2020 US presidential election during an appearance  
in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 4, 2020.
Democratic US presidential nominee and former vice president Joe Biden speaks about the results of the 2020 US presidential election during an appearance in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 4, 2020. (Reuters)

Joe Biden vowed Wednesday that the US would rejoin the Paris climate accord on his first day in the White House, hours after the withdrawal ordered by Donald Trump took effect.

"Today, the Trump Administration officially left the Paris Climate Agreement. And in exactly 77 days, a Biden Administration will rejoin it," Biden tweeted as returns from Tuesday's election showed him in a strong position to defeat Trump.

Biden is currently six electoral votes short of clinching the White House after flipping Michigan. He also won Arizona and Wisconsin, two other states that Republican Trump carried in 2016 over Hillary Clinton. 

States still up for grabs include Nevada (6 electoral votes), Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes) and Georgia (16 electoral votes).

President Trump's campaign has filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia, laying the groundwork for contesting battleground states as he slipped behind Biden in the hunt for the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

READ MORE: Trump vs Biden: US awaits presidential election results

US withdrawal from Paris agreement

Since the start of this presidency in 2016, Trump has talked about pulling the US out of the landmark Paris climate agreement.

In the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries set their own national targets for reducing or controlling pollution of heat-trapping gases. It was negotiated in 2015 with lots of prodding by the US and China and went into effect on November 4, 2016.

Japan's top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato said on Thursday that the US's withdrawal from the Paris agreement is extremely regrettable,

"The climate change issue isn't something of a single country, it should be addressed by the entire international community," Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told reporters.

"From that point of view, it's extremely regrettable that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement now," he said.

READ MORE: World Bank pumps billions into fossil fuel despite Paris deal

Efforts to fight global warming

Experts say the withdrawal by the United States, the second-biggest climate polluter and world's largest economy, will hurt efforts to fight global warming.

"Global objectives can't be met unless everybody does their part and the US has to play the game," said Appalachian State University environmental sciences professor Gregg Marland, who is part of a global effort to track carbon dioxide emissions. 

"We're the second biggest player. What happens to the game if we take our ball and go home?"

Someone else, probably the biggest polluter China, will take over leadership in the global fight, said MIT economist Jake Jacoby, who co-founded the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The penalty for the US "is not in economic loss. The penalty is in shame, in discrediting US leadership," Jacoby said.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies