Jeremy Leiss
2 min readJan 21, 2021


America Will Once Again Hold a Seat at the Table in the Fight Against Climate Change

Scene of celebration at the adoption of the Paris Agreement Flickr

On this day we turn the page on the last four years and look ahead to a future of opportunities and possibilities. There are many reasons I feel optimistic about our future, and while the challenges that lie ahead are many I think we can overcome them.

The most important crisis we face as a global society (beyond the pandemic that is still raging) is addressing climate change. As the country that has arguably contributed to our current predicament more than any other nation, the United States bears a tremendous responsibility to step up and take the helm in addressing this existential man-made threat. We are one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases today and have been for decades. We have exported environmentally destructive products and practices around the world, often shaping other societies for the worse. The clock is ticking (and has been) for humanity to take meaningful collective action. A global crisis requires global cooperation and nothing less than that will be sufficient.

Rejoining the Paris Agreement is the first necessary step to confront climate change and it must be followed by bold sweeping reforms. The pervasive and serious problems that stem from climate change already affect millions of people and stand to touch us all in a tangible way in the near future. Sadly, but unsurprisingly, the consequences are not evenly distributed and specific groups (women, children, people of color, indigenous peoples, coastal communities, small islands and developing nations) stand to bear the brunt of the impacts.

It’s time we start to look at climate change the way we do other crises — with urgency, ambition, and transparency. Climate change is underreported by the press, virtually absent from our education system, and grossly misunderstood by the public. Our efforts to address it to this point have been inadequate and often undermined by politicians, special interest groups and corporations alike. It is essential that we start treating this problem as a matter of life and death, because that’s what it truly is — maybe not for us, but indeed for our children and theirs as well.