And then there were two: the US and Syria.
As Nicaragua signs on to the Paris Agreement, the United States and Syria are now the only two nations in the world who have refused to be members of the climate pact.
The Central American country held out on signing the deal for two years, based on criticisms that it was “insufficient” in addressing climate change. On Monday, however, the Nicaraguan government announced its intent to join the accord. Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo said they sent a “document of adhesion” to the United Nations, according to Nicaragua’s state-run media outlet El 19 Digital.
“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.
The landmark pact was agreed upon by nearly 200 countries in 2015 and is dedicated to lowering emissions and strengthening countries’ abilities to deal with the effects of climate change. Nicaragua was the only country to reject it at the time. Syria, plunged in a civil war, was not present at the negotiations.
US President Donald Trump announced in June that the nation would withdraw from the climate accord, a process that will be complete in 2020.
“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.”
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 White House reiterated last month its intention to pull out of the deal unless changes are made.
“There has been no change in the United States’ position on the Paris agreement,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. “As the President has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country.
Trump’s decision to leave the accord sparked massive outcry. Former President Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the agreement, said the decision would hurt American workers, saying “the nations that remain in the Paris Agreement will be the nations that reap the benefits in jobs and industries created.” Numerous foreign leaders decried the decision. Mayors and governors throughout the US vowed to carry on the commitments of the climate accord in their own jurisdictions.
The US trails only China as the world’s worst emitter of carbon dioxide, according to the European Commission’s emissions database. 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.
Fiji will host the next round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) next month. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), world leaders will discuss how to “advance the aims and ambitions” of the Paris Agreement.
CNN’s Bijan Hosseini, Angela Barajas, Kevin Liptak, Ben Westcott and Steve George contributed to this report.