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8 November 2017

Syria to sign the Paris Agreement, further isolating the US

On the second day of this year’s climate negotiations, Syria announced it will sign the Paris Agreement, leaving the US the only country not to abide by the climate change deal.

Nicaragua and Syria were the only countries not to sign the agreement back in 2015, and the US announced its intention to withdraw this June.

The announcement was made by Syrian Deputy Environment Minister Wadah Katmawi. He stated: "I would like to affirm the Syrian Arab Republic's commitment to the Paris climate change accord”.

Nick Nuttall, UN spokesman affirmed the announcement to the AFP news agency, adding that Syria will have to submit the ratification documents at the UN headquarters in New York.

When COP21 took place in Paris in November 2015, Syria’s civil war had reached a climax and prevented the country from participating in the talks.

Wadah Katmawi said that the country will sign the agreement “as soon as possible”, adding that Syria will seek foreign aid from developed countries to meet its pledges under the agreement.

In the wake of the Syrian move, environmental NGO Sierra Club issued a statement saying: "As if it wasn't already crystal clear, every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position”.

Nicaragua officially joined the climate pact this October with Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady declaring that the Paris Agreement “is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters”.

As reported by the Independent, Paula Caballero, Global Director of the Climate Program at World Resources Institute, a Washington DC-based environmental think tank said: “With Syria on board, now the entire world is resolutely committed to advancing climate action – all save one country”.

“This should make the Trump administration pause and reflect on their ill-advised announcement about withdrawing”.

The US’s position during the climate summit in Bonn will be the promotion of coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change.

Since the US announced the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which will not take place until 2020, President Donald Trump and other officials from his administration have repeatedly implied that the only way that the US would stay in the Paris Agreement is if they could renegotiate the terms for the country.

Multiple representatives from signatory countries and international bodies have commented that renegotiation of the pact is not an option during COP23, or at any time. -as this year’s gathering will focus on the accord’s implementation rules, which will take effect on 2020. 

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