The Central American country of Nicaragua and war-torn Syria have joined the rest of the world’s nations in agreeing to sign onto the Paris climate accord, as the world’s nations meet in Bohn, Germany, for the world’s largest climate summit. These two new inclusions to the accord leave the United States as the sole hold-out on the agreement, after President Donald J. Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the accord last June.
President Daniel Ortega announced that Nicaragua would join the deal on September 20: "We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters."
In late October, Nicaraguan vice-president and first lady Rosario Murillo said that the Paris accord "is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters." Nicaragua originally abstained from joining the agreement, arguing that the convention’s plans for curbing carbon emissions in developed countries weren’t ambitious enough.
On November 7, Syria also announced that they will be joining the Paris accord, after having been mired in a still-ongoing civil war, that includes a 3-year battle against Islamic State forces. Syria’s initial reason for staying out of the agreement was that the deal didn’t impose strict regulations on major polluters. Syria’s announcement was made at the 23rd Conference of the Parties, hosted by the Republic of Fiji, although held in Bonn due to the logistics of hosting such a large conference in the tiny island nation.
The earliest date for an effective withdrawal from the Paris agreement for the United States is November 2020. Despite pressure from the international community, oil-industry representatives, and reportedly ignoring his advisors, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be leaving the Paris climate accord on June 1, inaccurately stating that the agreement would cost the United States trillions in lost GDP and millions of jobs. It was also announced that carbon reduction targets implemented by the Obama administration would be rescinded, and Trump has also made moves to undermine numerous environmental protection efforts, including cutting research funding and stacking the ranks of the EPA with carbon industry-friendly staff.
Former Virginia Senator Timothy Michael Kaine tweeted: "SYRIA just joined the Paris climate deal, leaving US as the *only* nation on Earth opposed.
"So by "America first," they meant America last.
- The Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, illuminated in green to celebrate the entry into force of the Paris Agreement, the most ambitious climate change agreement in history, on November 4, 2016. [Photo: Jean-Baptiste Gurliat/ Mairie de Paris] Wikimedia