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Nearly 1,000 Landscape Architects Urged US to Rejoin Paris Agreement

A projection on the Eiffel Tower as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. / AP Photo/Francois Mori

In December, nearly 1,000 landscape architects signed a petition authored by ASLA calling on the then incoming Biden-Harris administration to action to have the United States rejoin the Paris Agreement. The request coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global accord bringing nations together to fight the consequences of climate change, lower emissions and greenhouse gases, and to create a more sustainable and resilient world.

In June 2017, the Trump administration began the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the agreement. Despite the United States’ absence from the agreement, ASLA and more than 4,000 state and local governments, business leaders, university heads, cultural institutions, and many others signed the “We Are Still In” declaration.

President Biden began his first day in office on January 20, with the signing of a series of executive orders memorandums and proclamations to dismantle previous policies his aides said have caused the “greatest damage” to the nation, including orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord. This important step came just a few days after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that “2020 was the second hottest year on record, just behind 2016.”  

Additional orders that address reversing policies detrimental to the environment and our nation’s public lands include: revoking the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline; reversing the rollbacks to vehicle emissions standards; undoing decisions to slash the size of several national monuments; enforcing a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and re-establishing a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses.

Landscape architects are leaders in creating projects that mitigate the impacts of climate change and are working on a daily basis to reverse this crisis.

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