NOV 13, 2017 10:02 AM PST

And then there was one: only US outside Paris Agreement

The US is now the only country to not be involved in the Paris climate accord, news which comes after Syria stated at the UN climate talks this past week in Bonn, Germany that it would be joining the Paris agreement.

Parties representing the 196 nations committed to the Paris agreement met in Bonn this past week. Photo: IISD Reporting Services

Previously Nicaragua was the only other country not to have pledged its commitment to the agreement from the beginning, due to frustrations that the accord was not ambitious or strict enough. However, last month the country’s president, Daniel Ortega, reported his nation’s intention to join the accord.

The United States was originally involved in the agreement but this past summer President Donald Trump stated that he would pull the US out of the pact because it did not “serve US interests”. However, the US will not be able to officially withdraw from the agreement until 2020.

When that happens, the United States will be the only country not pledged to the Paris Climate Accord, now that Syria has stated its intentions of joining the agreement. A Syrian delegate stated, “We are going to join the Paris Agreement,” during a plenary session at the UN talks. The country will sign on as the 197th nation committed to keeping climate change at bay.

Though Syria’s carbon emissions are relatively low, the country will be responsible for putting out a report detailing its plan to cut greenhouse gases. Roua Shurbaji, a spokeswoman for Syria at the talks, said that the statement comes as a part of Syria’s desire to “to be effective in all international areas including climate change”. She promises that Syria will soon determine their targets for emission reductions.

Other nations are receiving this news joyously, though it puts more strain on the US’s isolation. “Syria joining the Paris Agreement will be a good thing,” South Africa’s chief negotiator Maesela Kekana told AFP.

Paula Caballero, director for climate change at the World Resources Institute, said, “With Syria on board, now the entire world is resolutely committed to advancing climate action -– all save one country.”

Sources: NY Times, The Herald

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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