Friday 23 August 2019

US only country to reject climate deal after Syria signs up

US President Donald Trump Photo: AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Josie Ensor

Syria has pledged to sign up to the Paris accord on climate change, leaving the US the only country opposed to the pact.

The Arab state, in the midst of a six-year civil war, yesterday became the final functioning state to commit to the pact.

"I would like to affirm the Syrian Arab Republic's commitment to the Paris climate change accord," Wadah Katmawi, deputy environment minister, said on the second day of climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

Nicaragua had been the only other country outside the 195-nation agreement - which it criticised as being "too weak" - until it too signed up last month.

The US, the world's largest economy and second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China, is the only government to have initiated withdrawal proceedings from the historic pact in its 23-year history.

Overall, the Paris agreement seeks to limit a global rise in temperatures to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial times and ideally to 1.5C.

President Donald Trump, who has expressed doubts that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are the prime cause of global warming, announced in June that he intended to pull out and instead promote US coal and oil industries.

David Waskow, of the World Resources Institute think tank, noted that Mr Trump's climate views had previously isolated him from other leading economies in the Group of Seven and the Group of 20.

"Now he'll be isolated from all nations," said Mr Waskow.

Mr Trump has said he will pull out of the Paris agreement unless Washington can secure more favourable terms for American businesses and taxpayers.

However, he has been vague about what that means - especially since the pact gives all nations power to set their own goals.

Irish Independent

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