President Donald Trump announced in June that the US would withdraw from the Paris climate accord. “We’re getting out,” he said. “And we will start to renegotiate and we’ll see if there’s a better deal. If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine.”
At the time, the US was not alone. Syria and Nicaragua also opted out. Syria was in the midst of civil war and was not present during the negotiations in 2015. Nicaragua protested that the accord did not go far enough to protect the environment and reverse the current trends.
On Tuesday, Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany. “I confirm that the Syrian Arab Republic supports the implementation of Paris climate change accord, in order to achieve the desired global goals and to reflect the principles of justice and shared responsibility, but in accordance with the capabilities of each of the signatories,” Syria’s Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment M. Wadah Katmawi said. Katmawi added that developed countries, “in their capacity as the primary contributors to climate change, should live up to their legal and humanitarian responsibility” by offering technical and financial support to developing countries to help battle climate change.
The Syria People’s Assembly voted to approve ratification of the agreement last month.
Nicaragua recently announced its intent to join the agreement as well. In late October, Nicaraguan Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo said the nation had submitted a “document of adhesion” to the United Nations to join the pact. “It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows us to unify intentions and efforts to face climate change and natural disasters,” she said of the agreement at the time.
With Syria and Nicaragua joining the accord, the US is now the only country in the world not willing to work together to formulate solutions. As a result, Trump is not invited “for the time being” to the climate change summit being hosted in December in Paris. Invitations are being sent first to countries that are “very active and particularly engaged” in climate change and will then extend an invitation to whoever the US government chooses to represent them.
At the opening of the UN Climate Change Confference, the US representative reaffirmed that “the administration’s position remains unchanged” on the agreement: the US will withdraw unless the terms of the agreement are renegotiated to be “more favorable to the American people.” At the time Trump announced the US’ withdrawal, the leaders of France, Italy and Germany indicated in a joint statement that the US could not unilaterally renegotiate the agreement. The UN body that facilitated the deal said it “cannot be renegotiated based on the request of a single party.”
The US trails only China as the worst emitter of CO2. In 2015, it released 5.1 million kilotons of carbon dioxide, more than all 28 European Union countries combined, and makes up almost a sixth of all global emissions.Tweet