What is the Paris Climate Agreement and why has Trump pulled out of the deal?

Louise Boyle
·1-min read
Donald Trump announces his decision for the US to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2017 (Getty)
Donald Trump announces his decision for the US to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in the Rose Garden at the White House in 2017 (Getty)

Towards the end of the first presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace dropped in a surprise question on the climate crisis, leading both candidates to lay out their opposing stances on the Paris Climate Accord.

“If you look at the Paris Accord, it was a disaster from our standpoint. And people are actually very happy about what’s going on because our businesses are doing well," President Trump said.

Former vice president Joe Biden vowed that, if he wins the election, “the first thing" he would do is rejoin the global agreement.

“I will join the Paris Accord because with us out of it, look what’s happening. It’s all falling apart,” he said, pointing to the rampant destruction of Brazil’s rainforests, happening in the vacuum of US diplomatic leadership. 

Below is a breakdown of the background, significance and future prospects of the Paris Accord - and what it will mean for the US to re-enter or forge ahead with withdrawal.