Wednesday will mark a year since President Donald Trump’s administration notified the United Nations of the US exit, starting the one-year process required under the pact’s rules to bow out.
The US – the world’s largest economy and second biggest greenhouse gas emitter after China – will be the first nation to quit the accord, which was signed by nearly all countries in 2015.
The move would put the Trump administration effectively at odds with all its allies and major competitors on the issue of climate change.
Trump has been a staunch opponent of the accord, and has rolled back environmental regulations, saying they inhibit business and give other countries an edge. He has repeatedly questioned climate change science.
The president first announced the US retreat in 2017. Should he be re-elected, the US would likely stay out of the international effort to slow climate change for at least the next four years.
Trump’s Democratic challenger Joe Biden, meanwhile, has vowed to immediately rejoin the Paris agreement if he wins the White House.
International climate scientists warn that drastic action is needed to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as laid out in the accord.
The effects of climate change are already being felt, with rising sea levels, weather disasters and dying coral reefs.