FSM President ‘hopeful’ of Biden’s plan to rejoin climate change agreement

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FSM President David Panuelo (Still image from the FSM President's FB)

Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo is hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden would push the U.S. government to renew its commitment to the Paris climate change agreement.

Panuelo said that the FSM, Palau, and the Marshall Islands consider climate change an existential threat to the highest order. And for the FSM, it is the single, largest security threat at present.

In his congratulatory message to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Panuelo said, “I have seen you pronounce that on your first day in office that the United States of America will rejoin the Paris Agreement, and it is my sincere and heartfelt hope that this is precisely what will occur.”

President Donald Trump announced he would leave the climate change forum back in 2017. At that time, Trump claimed it would be ‘economically detrimental’ for the U.S. to continue being part of the agreement.

The U.S. officially left the Paris Agreement on November 4 this year.

While on the campaign trail and just a few days after the pull-out took effect, Biden pledged to rejoin the agreement if he wins the presidential election.

Biden also announced his plans to implement a $5 trillion-plus climate change proposal — a mix of tax incentives, federal spending, and national and federal policies addressing climate issues.

“It will be extraordinarily meaningful to Micronesia and to Micronesians, if the United States takes the lead in championing climate change, which both my predecessors and I have called for in bilateral and multilateral engagements, such as at the United Nations General Assembly,” Panuelo said.

He also said the FSM has implemented institutional and policy changes such as the limited plastic importation ban recently enforced by the government to address climate change.

Indo-Pacific security

In his message, Panuelo said the FSM has heard the calls from the U.S. to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region and Micronesians are committed to doing their part in maintaining regional and international security.

“It is my hope and intention that, under your administration, we will continue to move rapidly on issues of mutual import to our two nations, including the completion of the negotiations of the expiring economic provisions of the Compact of Free Association, as amended.

Panuelo also mentioned FSM’s faith in the U.S. to overcome the recent global challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year of 2020 has brought significant challenges, from the COVID-19 Pandemic and the loss of always-precious and invaluable human lives, to economic hardships that are increasingly unequal in the categories of people most affected. Overcoming these challenges may at first appear to be Sisyphean in nature, but I want you to know that I, and the People of the Federated States of Micronesia, have faith in the United States of America, and the American People, in overcoming them, and becoming stronger as a result…”