For climate-minded voters, there could still be hope.
Donald Trump announced Thursday he would withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris accord aimed at fighting climate change, which was agreed upon by every nation except Nicaragua and Syria. But backing out of the agreement could prove a lengthy process—one that would end, coincidentally, the day after the 2020 presidential election, when Trump might just be up for re-election.
Multiple people, including former President Barack Obama adviser Brian Deese and CNN's Dan Merica, pointed out this fact on Twitter.
There's a four-year rule—a three-year waiting period before a country could withdraw and then a one-year waiting period after that—that keeps a country from backing out of the Paris agreement immediately. Since Trump reportedly plans to adhere to that process, the U.S. would be able to exit on November 4, 2020, since the agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. The next presidential election is set to take place November 3, 2020.
Many people were seemingly angry about Trump's decision to back out of the Paris agreement. The hashtag #ActOnClimate trended across the United States Thursday as Trump delivered his speech announcing the U.S. would withdraw from the deal.
Trump—a longtime denier of climate change—said Thursday in his announcement that he cared about the environment, and he seemed to leave the door open for the U.S. to re-enter the Paris accord, saying it would be possible if better terms were negotiated. "So we're getting out, but we still start to negotiate," he said, while proclaiming that the deal sent U.S. wealth out to the world while hurting American workers.
While the 2020 election is of course a long way off, Trump's presidency is already quite unpopular, and the Paris agreement, meanwhile, has proved quite popular among folks in the United States. A Yale poll released last month found 69 percent of American voters wanted the U.S. to participate in the Paris agreement.
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