Syria joins the Paris climate agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only country on earth not taking part

Here's a list of countries not signed on to the accord. (Hint: It's short.)
Publish date:
Updated on

Syria is signing on to the international climate agreement known as the Paris Agreement.

The Washington Post reports officials with the Middle Eastern country made the announcement at an international climate conference in Bonn, Germany. That means Syria will join the other Paris Agreement adoptees in taking voluntary efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Paris accord was hailed as a landmark global agreement that could ward off some of the worst effects of climate change. 

For context, here's a list of countries that have opted to not be a part of the deal.

  • United States

Yep. That's it.

Otherwise, 195 of the world's 196 countries have signed on (though about a couple dozen haven't actually ratified it yet).

How the U.S. became the odd one out

Syria and Nicaragua were the only two countries in the world to not sign on to the Paris Agreement when it came into effect in November of 2016.

Since then both have reversed course, with Syria announcing its intention to join Tuesday, and Nicaragua making that decision late last month, according to the UN's tracking website.

And on the flip side the U.S., you might remember, announced its intention on June 1 to quit the agreement. President Donald Trump cited "disadvantages" that lead to "vastly diminished economic production" as the reason for withdrawing.


4 reasons why the U.S. leaving Paris climate deal might not be the end of the world

Trump's decision was a dramatic reversal from the previous administration, with former President Barack Obama's White House hailing it as an "ambitious" plan to tackle global climate change.

The U.S. can't officially withdraw until November of 2020, but Trump's order means the country won't be taking any steps to remain in line with the Paris Agreement's goals.

The U.S. is the second biggest carbon dioxide polluter in the world, behind only China.

Trump has signaled in the past he doesn't give much credence to scientific belief that the changing climate is largely resulting from human activity, and in 2012 tweeted that global warming is a "hoax" perpetrated by the Chinese for economic reasons.

Since taking office his administration has taken several steps to repeal environmental regulations implemented by the Obama Administration, including most recently the Clean Power Plan. The ultimate hope was to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by the year 2030, but EPA head Scott Pruitt in announcing the plan's repeal said it was too much about picking "winners and losers" in the energy sector.

Trump is not being invited to an international climate conference in Paris set for next month, Reuters reported Tuesday. A lower level American official could be asked to come, however.

Next Up