The Paris climate deal is an agreement between nations to work together on reducing global warming. It's a deal that President Donald Trump announced Thursday the U.S. would be withdrawing from despite pushback and concerns from business and international leaders.
Although Trump said he is open to negotiating an alternative climate agreement, his decision was met with backlash from many including Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Governor Jerry Brown.
Trump may have opted to pull out of the Paris agreement, but withdrawal is not an overnight process. In fact, it may take nearly four years for the U.S. to officially be removed from the deal.
Article 28 of the Paris agreement discusses the steps needed to take to completely pull out from the deal:
1. At any time after three years from the date on which this Agreement has entered into force for a Party, that Party may withdraw from this Agreement by giving written notification to the Depositary.
2. Any such withdrawal shall take effect upon expiry of one year from the date of receipt by the Depositary of the notification of withdrawal, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of withdrawal.
3. Any Party that withdraws from the Convention shall be considered as also having withdrawn from this Agreement.
The terms state, three years must pass from the date a party entered into force before they can send official notice of withdrawal.
The U.S. officially entered into the agreement on Nov. 4, 2016, four days before Election Day, according to the United Nations.
President Trump has to wait until Nov. 4, 2019 to send notice to withdraw from the Paris agreement and would still need to wait another year until the withdrawal takes effect.
So, the U.S. wouldn't be officially out of the Paris climate deal until Nov. 4, 2020 — the day after the next presidential election. This means, the topic of the Paris agreement will likely be brought up during the next presidential campaign.
It is possible that if a new president is elected, he or she can negotiate delaying or cancelling the withdrawal.
It's important to know, however, the Paris agreement doesn't legally bind countries to meet their climate goals. If Trump decides to simply ignore the terms, he can do so without facing legal repercussions. If the president wanted to exit the agreement quicker, he also has the option of withdrawing from the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as stated in Article 28.
The UNFCCC has nearly universal membership and lays out the framework for combating climate change as a global effort.