Nicaragua May Soon Sign The Paris Agreement - Leaving The US And Syria As The Only Two Countries Not In It

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There are only two countries not included in the Paris Agreement – Syria and Nicaragua. Now there are reports that the latter has announced plans to sign the accord, which means the United States will be joining a country in the thrall of a bloody seven-year civil war if Trump makes good on his promise to leave the Paris Agreement.

Daniel Ortega, President of Nicaragua, is said to have told local media outlets of the news on Monday.

"We will soon adhere, we will sign the Paris Agreement. We have already had meetings addressing the issue and we have already programmed the adhesion of Nicaragua and the signing of the Country Agreement," said Ortega, reports Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario.

"[W]e do what we can in the fight for the defense of the environment," he added.

If this goes ahead, Syria – a country caught in civil war – will be the only country in the world to have not signed the climate deal.

Meanwhile, Trump announced plans to withdraw earlier this year, accusing other countries of using the deal to gain financial advantage over the US. He's called it a "bad deal" but hasn't ruled out creating a "better deal". (And by better, we mean better for Americans. The rest of the world be damned.)

Recently, there has been some confusion over whether they plan to exit the Paris Agreement at all.

In response to America's indecision, other countries have reaffirmed their commitment to the accord. The EU recently passed legislation to make it a legally binding contract, which may have encouraged Nicaragua to change their mind.

Unlike Trump, who says the conditions of the agreement are too restricting, Ortega argues it's not going far enough. They initially rejected the accord because it refused to punish countries who failed to meet their targets. 

“We’re not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure,” Paul Oquist, the head of the Nicaraguan delegation to the Paris Agreement, told the website Climate Home in 2015. 

“We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents.”

They also argue that richer nations should do more to cover the cost of climate change because they have benefited more from industrialization and done more to increase global carbon dioxide levels. And, they point out, it is developing nations who will be the worst affected.

The 2017 Global Climate Risk Index named Nicaragua the fourth-most-at-risk-nation in the world when it comes to climate change. Honduras, Myanmar, and Haiti made the top three.

According to the Climate Action Programme, Nicaragua already gets 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and they plan to expand this to 90 percent by 2020. Signing up to the accord won't make a huge amount of difference on a practical level, but would make a powerful symbolic gesture.

"When the only country left in the world that hasn't signed the Paris Agreement is Syria, President Trump's decision to withdraw from the accord stands out like a sore thumb," David Waskow, WRI's international climate director, told IFLScience. "The Trump Administration’s reputation as a climate loner deepens even further."

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