Could the USA rejoin the Paris Climate Accord in the future, now that it has withdrawn from them?

If they are able to re-join, will they have to 'catch up' to meet the terms of the agreement? And could it be made into a full on treaty or are there any political or legal reasons that it wouldn't be able to?

  • Related: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/19677/… Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 0:05
  • "now that it has withdrawn from them" The Unites States has not withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, and in fact, hasn't even given a formal notification of withdrawal. According to the Paris Agreement, notification of withdrawal cannot be given until 3 years after the agreement goes into force (the agreement went into force on November 4, 2016, so the earliest the US can give notification of withdrawal is November 4, 2019). And the withdrawal only takes effect one year after giving notice, so the earliest that can happen is November 4, 2020.
    – user102008
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 4:27
  • Are you asking about if the US actually notifies and follows through with a withdrawal some time in November 2020 or after, whether the US can re-join after that?
    – user102008
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 4:30

1 Answer 1


The Paris Agreement is not that restraining. It mostly involve making known that your country is part of the agreement and regularly stating your objectives, efforts and contributions. It's not forcing results or even efforts, it's a symbolic agreement :


In the Paris Agreement, each country determines, plans and regularly reports its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming. There is no mechanism to force a country to set a specific target by a specific date, but each target should go beyond previously set targets.

Moreover, Donald Trump may have said that he was making the USA to leave the Paris Agreement, but he actually announced the intention to do it, which means that canceling that announcement by not withdrawing would be enough, no need to re-join according to my interpretation :

In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the agreement, causing widespread condemnation in the European Union and many sectors in the United States. Under the agreement, the earliest effective date of withdrawal for the U.S. is November 2020.

  • The U.S. was never truly a member of the Accord since it was not ratified by congress. Our association was merely a presidential proclamation. Presidents come and go,
    – TomO
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 19:44
  • If it's an agreement, could it even be properly ratified?
    – Tirous
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 19:59
  • You're correct. I think the formal title included "agreement", though a difference between "agreement" and "accord" is not apparent. The U.S. problem is that it wasn't submitted to congress.
    – TomO
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 20:20

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