U.S., Syria out in the cold after Nicaragua signs Paris Climate Deal

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on January 18, 2017, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA/TNS)
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies on January 18, 2017, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA/TNS)

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua has signed the Paris climate deal, the country’s vice president confirmed Monday, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two nations to not lend their support to the international treaty.

Rosario Murillo said that President Daniel Ortega had signed the Central American nation on to the deal even though the government still had misgivings about it.

In a joint letter to the United Nations, published online by Nicaraguan newspaper El 19, Murillo and Ortega said that although the Paris deal was “not ideal” it was the “only instrument” to prevent contamination that was poisoning the planet.

Adopted by nearly 200 countries during a conference in Paris in December 2015, the document lays out a 31-page plan that seeks to keep global average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, limit greenhouse gas emissions and also remove them from the atmosphere.

President Donald Trump announced June 1 that he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, but he also left open the door to negotiating a better deal for U.S. businesses and workers.

Trump’s decision only began the process of withdrawal, a move that will not be completed until 2020. In the meantime, his administration is not holding itself to commitments, made during predecessor Barack Obama’s time in office, to limit emissions and otherwise abide by the deal.

Syria has been hit by civil war since 2011, with human rights violations on both sides. As a result, Bashar Assad’s government has so far not been in a position to commit to limiting the country’s climate emissions.

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