Donald Trump and Bashar al-Assad Alone as Nicaragua Signs the Paris Climate Accord

Climate change does make strange bedfellows.

Nicaragua has decided to join the Paris climate agreement, as the nation’s Vice President Rosario Murillo calls the agreement “the only instrument we have” to tackle climate change, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two countries that are not included in the global pact.

According to a report by The Guardian, Murillo told a local radio station on Monday that her country has already submitted relevant documents to the United Nations. “It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up the climate change and natural disasters,” she said.

Nicaragua did not support the agreement in the past because it was not strict enough to curb global warming. Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s lead envoy during the Paris climate talks in November 2015, told the website Climate Home that there was a disconnect between what the accord stipulated and what participating countries said they were going to do to protect the environment.

“We are not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure,” Oquist said at the time. “We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents.”

Nicaragua acquires more than half of its energy from renewable resources and is hoping to reach 75 percent of renewable energy by the end of this year and 90 percent by 2020, website EcoWatch reported. A 2013 report by the World Bank called Nicaragua “a renewable energy paradise in Central America” thanks to its “extensive geothermic resources —resulting from its large volcanic chain and seismic activity— with excellent exposure to the wind and sun and a variety of water sources.”

In the case of Syria, the heaviest fighting of the country’s seven years of internal conflict occurred while the Paris agreement was taking place, according to The Washington Post. Due to the ravaging conflict during the Paris talks, Damascus could not commit to limiting climate emissions, the newspaper noted.

However, isolated nations such as North Korea and war-torn countries like Iraq and Yemen became signatories, the Post added.

Unlike Nicaragua and Syria, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris accord because he considered it detrimental to U.S. interests. However, in August, Trump said he was willing to remain in the deal as long as “more favorable” terms for the U.S. were established.

“As the president indicated in his June 1 announcement and subsequently, he is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the U.S. can identify terms that are more favorable to the United States, its business, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers,” The New York Times cited the State Department’s statement.

Nicaragua’s global emissions only reach 0.03 percent, while Syria’s share stands at 0.14 percent.  The United States, however, is considered the world’s biggest carbon polluter in history, according to The New York Times

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