24 october 2017

Nicaragua to join Paris climate accord, leaving US and Syria isolated

Vice-president Rosario Murillo calls global pact ‘the only instrument we have’ to address climate change as number of outsiders shrinks to two

The Guardian, Tuesday 24 October 2017

Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.

Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady, said on local radio on Monday.

“It 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,” Murillo said.

Donald Trump said in June he would withdraw the United States from the accord, and Nicaragua’s decision to enter the pact means only two countries will now be outside it – the world’s No 1 economy and war-torn Syria.

Nicaragua, which is often threatened by hurricanes, was the only country to reject the agreement in 2015, and has argued for far more drastic action to limit rising temperatures.

The Paris accord, agreed by nearly 200 countries two years ago, seeks to limit planetary warming by curbing global emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that scientists believe drive global warming.

The administration of the former US president Barack Obama had pledged deep emissions cuts as part of the deal, but his successor, Trump, has said the accord would cost America trillions of dollars, kill jobs, and hinder the oil, gas, coal and manufacturing industries.

The island country of Fiji will preside over the next round of UN climate talks, from 6-17 November in Bonn, Germany, where environment ministers from around the world will work on a set of international guidelines for the Paris accord.

The latest round of negotiations take place after a string of powerful hurricanes ravaged Caribbean island nations and caused billions of dollars in damage along the Texas and Florida coastlines.

Climate scientists have said warmer air and water resulting from climate change may have contributed to the severity of the storms. The US Environmental Protection Agency has disputed such claims as an attempt to “politicize” natural disasters.

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