Donald J. Trump in November 2016 [photo: The Trump Organization]
Following President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris Climate Accord—a global pact to reduce carbon output and curb climate change—only two other nations had not signed the treaty.
Now, the U.S. sits alone and isolated internationally on climate policy.
This week Syria, the final nation invited to join, announced its intention to sign the Paris climate agreement.
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Nicaragua had been the only other holdout on the agreement, for very different reasons—the country felt the current pact doesn’t go far enough—but it eventually signed the agreement earlier this year.
News of Syria’s commitment to the Paris agreement came during ongoing negotiations in Bonn, Germany, where U.S. negotiators are present.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the White House said its intentions remain unchanged.
The White House, Washington, D.C. [Creative Commons license by dcjohn]
“As the president previously stated, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable for our country,” the White House statement read.
The Paris agreement invites all members to cut carbon emissions voluntarily and does not mandate specifics, which makes each country’s “terms” unique.
President Trump made the announcement earlier this year, when he claimed the climate agreement would harm the U.S. economy.
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Syria’s late arrival to the agreement stems from its ongoing civil war. Due to U.S. and European sanctions, Syria was only now able to send representatives to negotiate its signing of the climate accord.
The country did not produce specific plans to cut its carbon emissions, though it’s a small producer of carbon dioxide in the overall global emission total. It pledged to do its part.
Meanwhile, France disinvited President Trump “for the time being” to a climate change summit scheduled for December 12, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
French President Emmanual Macron’s office issued the statement, which personally singled out President Trump—though it said the summit will welcome lower-level U.S. officials.
The French president’s office said all guests have committed to carbon-cutting measures per the climate accord, which puts the U.S. “a bit of a special status for that summit.”
Per the 2015 agreement, the U.S. cannot fully withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord until 2020.
American officials said they will continue to negotiate the deal’s terms.
Thus far, the U.S. hasn’t laid out specifics about what changes it would require to recommit to the global effort to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions that are the main driver of climate change.
Global carbon dioxide emissions, 1850-2030 [CO2 Information Analysis Center, World Energy Outlook]
Last Friday, a broad team of climate scientists from 13 different federal agencies released the fourth National Climate Assessment.
It clearly, bluntly underscored the scientific consensus that humans have caused change in the global climate via two centuries of emissions from combusting fossil fuels that have led to unprecedented levels of atmospheric carbon.
That report stands in stark contrast to statements by numerous high-level members of the Trump Administration that climate change does not exist or that human activities are not to blame.
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