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Nicaragua Will Sign Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S., Syria on Outside
Published: September 22, 2017
(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Nicaragua is poised to sign the Paris Climate Accord, leaving only the United States and Syria on the outside of the landmark agreement.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said his country would sign the 2015 accord that calls for a voluntary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario.
“We will soon adhere, we will sign the Paris Agreement,” he said.
Nicaragua reportedly did not initially sign the deal because its leaders believed the agreement did not go far enough in reducing greenhouse emissions, arguing that richer nations should be required to take greater action because they are the ones primarily responsible for the increase in global warming, according to El Nuevo Diario.
“We’re not going to submit because voluntary responsibility is a path to failure,” Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s climate envoy, said during the Paris talks in 2015.
The agreement commits rich and poor countries to take action to curb man-made greenhouse gases, which 97 percent of scientists who actively study climate change affirm “is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures.” Numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals have also consistently shown rising global temperatures to be tied to human activity.
Nicaragua, as a developing nation, does not emit the same greenhouse gas emissions that other, more industrialized countries do. However, the nation that is home to 6 million is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, ranking fourth on the 2017 Global Climate Risk Index.
Nicaragua is also committed to renewable energy, getting more than half its energy from renewable sources. It also has plans to produce up to 90 percent renewable power by 2020.
When announcing his country's decision, Ortega rallied other poorer regions affected by a changing climate.
“We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, that are already the victims and are the ones that will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas,” Ortega said, according to El Nuevo Diario.
Backed by former President Barack Obama, the agreement was signed by 190 countries in 2015, with the exception of Nicaragua and Syria. In June, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the agreement, citing the “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country.”
Trump noted at the time that his administration was planning to renegotiate the deal to better serve the American people.
"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord but begin negotiations to re-enter either the Paris accord or an entirely new transaction under terms that are fair to the United States," Trump said from the White House Rose Garden in June. "We're getting out. And we will start to renegotiate and we'll see if there's a better deal. If we can, great. If we can't, that's fine."
Since then, Trump has filed paperwork with the United Nations to pull out of it within four years.
The decision was received with ire by leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Pope Francis, who called the move a "slap in the face."
"Certain issues should be taken out of the political discussion domain and not be politicized," Cardinal Peter Turkson, who led a Vatican delegation that was influential in brokering the Paris agreement in 2015, told the Washington Post following Trump's announcement. "The truth is, climate is a global public good and not limited to any country."
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