On Wednesday the US formally withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Agreement after polls showed that 74% of voters supporting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden see climate change as an important issue in determining the next president.
According to the survey conducted by Morning Consult, Democrats and Republicans had very different views on climate change. Only 19% of Republican voters said that climate change was very important to their vote, and 22% said the issue was not important at all.
The survey included interviews with more than 20,000 voters and found that an overwhelming 95% of Biden voters believed that he would handle climate change issues better than President Donald Trump.
Trump voters showed less confidence in the president’s climate record, with only 58% saying they trusted the president more than Biden on climate change issues.
Another 16% of Trump voters said they trusted Biden more, while 26% said they were undecided or uncertain on this issue.
The two candidates had drastically different approaches to climate change throughout their campaigns.
While Biden has promised to ensure that the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and net zero emissions by 2050, Trump has promised to expand drilling for oil and gas.
Trump officially announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2017 and began the formal process of withdrawal in 2019. After a mandatory one-year waiting period, the US officially withdrew from the agreement on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, which the US formally signed in 2016 under the Obama administration, the country committed to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 25% by 2025 compared to 2005.
The decision to withdraw from the agreement met with widespread criticism and made the US the only one of almost 200 countries to withdraw its global commitment to reduce greenhouse gases.
According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, the United States emitted cumulatively more CO2 than any other country during the period 1751-2017.
The research center estimates that U.S. emissions over the next five years could be 14 to 18 percent lower than 2005 levels – a figure that falls far short of what experts believe is needed to combat climate change.
During his term, President Trump has rolled back nearly 100 environmental regulations, including limits on carbon pollution from power plants, cars, trucks and fossil fuel operations.
But Biden has vowed to change U.S. climate policy, saying he will rejoin the Paris Accord “on day one” if elected.
If this happens, the US could officially resume its role in the agreement as early as mid-February.