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Ader: Climate change set to be key issue on new US administration’s agenda

Climate change is expected to be among the most important issues on the agenda of the new US administration headed by President Joe Biden, President Janos Ader said on his "Blue Planet" podcast on Monday.

Discussing the new administration’s climate policies with environmental economist Gabor Bartus, Ader noted that the 2020 presidential election had been the first in which climate change was a major issue.

Among his first acts in office, Biden moved to pull the US back into the Paris climate accord, cancelled the long-disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline, halted oil drilling in a pristine part of the Arctic and set up a working group to assess the social cost of greenhouse gases, Ader noted.

Bartus said that although the new administration’s first measures were noteworthy, US presidents had so far had minimal influence on the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest changes have come from technological and business advancements like the use of shale gas and rulings by the Supreme Court, he said.

Ader added that because the US and China account for more than one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, no climate policy would be effective without their participation.

Bartus said the world should strive to enact climate policy measures that “fit environmental protection into the logic of the economy”, noting the European Union’s Emissions Trading System as an example.

He said that if countries put a price on environmental pollution in the form of taxes or other levies, a free-trade area could be set up, and those outside it would eventually be forced to invest in environmental protection. If the US, China and the EU all thought like this, the rest of the world would eventually have to adapt as well, he added.

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