The United States is now officially the only country in the world who is not a part of the Paris climate agreement. Syrian officials announced their decision to join the accord today at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP23, in Bonn, Germany.
The decision was confirmed by M. Wadah Katmawi, Syria’s Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment. Katmawi stated that Syria would uphold the treaty “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.”
Katmawi added that developed countries who are “the primary contributors to climate change” have a responsibility, financially and otherwise, to help developing countries in their efforts against climate change.
Syria, who was absent from the 2015 meeting due to an ongoing Civil War, reportedly voted to ratify the agreement last month.
The only other country besides the United States and Syria who did not sign the Paris agreement was Nicaragua, due to concern the legislation was “insufficient” in tackling climate change. But now, Nicaragua has also declared its intention to join the accord.
President Donald Trump publicized his decision in June to withdraw the United States from the deal, which is a pact among nearly 200 countries to address the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Trump said that compliance with the Paris accord could “cost America as much as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025,” a claim that has been widely criticized. On the other hand, Trump did promise in his exit speech that withdrawing from the climate agreement did not mean that the United States would not continue to contribute to the Green Climate Fund that was set up by the accord.
No matter his good intentions, however, Trump is not yet invited to the climate change conference taking place in Paris in December. The Elysee Palace press told CNN that summit invitations are being sent out first to countries which are “very active and particularly engaged” in climate change. An invitation will then be sent to a person chosen by the United States government to represent the country at the meeting.
In 2016, the United States was the second largest emitter of carbon dioxide worldwide, second only to China. World leaders swiftly condemned Trump’s 2017 decision to leave the Paris treaty, as did many representatives of the United States like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“President Trump can turn his back on the world, but the world cannot ignore the very real threat of climate change,” de Blasio said. “This decision is an immoral assault on the public health, safety and security of everyone on this planet.”