The Surprising Reason Joe Biden Apologized For Donald Trump

In 1947, scientists at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created a symbolic Doomsday Clock which the University of Chicago called a "metaphor" to describe how close humanity is to destroying itself through technology it has created. The clock is set by scientists who had originally worked on the Manhattan Project, who had helped to build the world's first atomic bomb. 

The furthest the clock has been to midnight or "doomsday" was in 1991, when the Soviet Union came to an end, and a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was signed. Back then, the clock was set at 17 minutes to midnight. Today, three decades later, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pointed out that circumstances has changed. "The longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act. Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It's one minute to midnight on that Doomsday clock and we need to act now," he said (via BBC). 

So when President Joe Biden appeared before fellow world leaders, his first task was to apologize for his predecessor's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, which is meant to coordinate a global response against climate change (via CBS).

'Behind the eight ball': Biden

In his speech, Biden said, "I guess I shouldn't apologize, but I do apologize for the fact that the United States, in the last administration, pulled out of the Paris Accord and put us sort of behind the eight ball," he said. The president warned, "Worse is yet to come if we fail to seize this moment," noting that the U.S. would lead by example (via CBS).

Biden has never apologized for his predecessor's actions, even during past meetings he has held with fellow world leaders, he has never apologized for his predecessor's actions. Instead, he has said at that America was "back at the table." He's tried to separate his administration's actions from that of his predecessor, saying back in June that "We had a president, the last [one] who basically said it's not a problem, global warming. It is the existential problem facing humanity and it's being treated that way" (via BBC).

Donald Trump first announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Accord in 2017, but that action didn't actually take effect until the day after last year's presidential elections. The deal had originally been reached under the Obama administration, and had bound the U.S. to commitments to fight climate change, including keeping global temperatures from rising past 1.5 degrees Celsius. While the COP events are meant to find solutions to climate change, the Trump administration had used it to push the use of fossil fuels, which have been linked to rising temperatures (via BBC).