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President Biden asserts US leadership on pandemic, climate

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President Joe Biden told a virtual gathering of European leaders Friday that the world “can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change.”

Global leaders applauded the United States’ formal return to the mostly voluntary 2015 agreement, saying it’s symbolic and important. They say they expect the U.S. to show leadership in the fight against warming by setting strong targets for carbon pollution cuts by 2030.

The Trump administration announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord in 2019, but it didn’t take effect until Nov. 4, 2020.

Biden also announced that the U.S. is making a $2-billion pledge to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, and encouraged G-7 partners to “step up, as well.”

Trump had withdrawn the U.S. from WHO and refused to join more than 190 countries in the COVAX program.

It remains to be seen how G-7 allies will take Biden’s calls for greater international cooperation on vaccine distribution given that the U.S. refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and that there are growing calls for the Democrat’s administration to distribute some U.S.-manufactured vaccine supplies overseas.

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