And then there were two.
Following Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s recent decision to have his country sign on to the Paris Climate Accord, the United States and Syria are left as the only two countries not on board the agreement that was spawned in Paris in 2016 and aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
As a reminder, Nicaragua originally refused to sign the agreement because of the claim that the accord was not ambitious or strict enough. The accord, which 195 countries signed at the time, places a goal on keeping the global average temperature from rising 2°C above the pre-industrial age. Nicaragua was disappointed by the results of the UN meetings that produced the final Paris climate document, having hoped that it would require more sacrifice and commitment from wealthier nations and would enforce loftier goals.
It seems that Nicaragua only wanted fair play from the world’s strongest economies. After all, the small Central American nation has already shown commitment to green-friendly choices: roughly 75% of the country’s energy comes from renewables (solar, wind, geothermal, and wave power), and the country plans on upping that number to 90% by 2020. It has been called “a renewable energy paradise” by the World Bank.
According to the national newspaper El Nuevo Diario, President Ortega has been mulling over this change for some time now, saying in September: “We will soon adhere, we will sign the Paris Agreement. We have already had meetings addressing the issue and we have already programmed the accession.”
While President Ortega’s change in heart leans toward climate collaboration, President Trump’s announcement on the first of June of this year that he had decided to pull the US out of the Paris agreement, leans in the opposite direction. President Trump’s reasoning for his decision was that he hoped to renegotiate a better “deal” for the US. Nevertheless, despite this decision, the US cannot actually withdraw from the agreement until 2020.
The next round of United Nations climate-change discussions will be next month in Bonn, Germany, and the Trump administration says they do plan to send representatives to those talks.