AIA Applauds US Climate Recommitment
Last Wednesday, President Joe Biden issued a statement announcing the United States recommitment to the Paris Agreement, done at Paris on December 12, 2015.
Biden accepted the Agreement, including every article and clause thereof, on behalf of the nation.
Climate Change Circle
Back in September 2016, former President Barrack Obama announced that the U.S. was formally entering the Paris Agreement—a worldwide effort to fight climate change.
Short-lived, the following year after the inauguration of former President Donald J. Trump that fall, Trump announced in June that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Agreement and would attempt to negotiate a new pact with what he deemed to be better terms.
Trump’s move was not a surprise; he had made campaign promises to exit the Paris Agreement, which was drafted in 2016 to take effect in 2020, and had been signed by 195 countries. The agreement seeks to limit global warming attributed to emissions. (The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, behind China.)
Trump’s decision prompted a swift response from the architectural community.
"The United States must remain a leader in the battle to cease harmful and needless practices that damage the planet and its climate," American Institute of Architects 2017 President Thomas Vonier said in a statement. “Instead of helping our economy, as the Administration contends, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement will put us behind our major global competitors."
At the time, Vonier said he would implore the 90,000 licensed architects who comprise the AIA to continue efforts to combat climate change.
"We will also urge our members throughout the United States and the world to assist cities, states, organizations and citizen groups in meeting the aims of the climate accord," his statement read. "By adhering to our values as a profession that is concerned with human habitat and the health of our environment, we will help to mitigate the harm this decision will do to our economy and to America's stature across the globe."
By 2019, the AIA spoke out again on Trump’s official decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
“The AIA deplores the administration's shortsighted decision,” said AIA 2019 President William Bates, FAIA.
“The economic impact to the United States as a participant in the Paris Agreement is a fraction of the toll we will pay if we do not make climate action a top priority as a nation. The stakes couldn’t be higher—a reversal of this decision is critical.”
AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, went on to note in the statement that the U.S. is a large contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to move the needle on this global crisis, it will take the efforts of every industry, every company and every citizen of the United States as well as the leadership of the United States government,” Ivy said.
“The AIA will continue to prioritize climate action in an effort to support architects—and the entire design and construction field—in this critical role.”
In response to Biden’s swift recommitment, AIA 2021 President Peter Exley, FAIA, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply encouraged by this Administration’s swift and decisive action on climate change. Re-establishing the United States’ commitment to the Paris climate accord sends a strong message to our nation and the world that we will pursue meaningful changes that can save our planet.
"As architects, we stand ready to play a significant role in achieving climate goals for the built environment and to working with the Administration and Congress toward that end.”