Skip to main content

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.)

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.

Related: 

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

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 4.48.45 PM

Bloomington PD announce what's likely 'largest fentanyl bust in Midwest'

The case is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Sept. 27

This week's report represents data collected Sept. 21-27.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.56.10 PM

MN health officials warn of potential for measles outbreak amid rise in cases

A recent case among a child with no travel history is prompting heightened concern.

skid steer

Four-year-old boy dies in accident on western Wisconsin farm

The boy was struck by a skid steer, according to police.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 2.41.51 PM

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge hits the market for $6M

The restaurant will remain open while the property is on the market.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 12.27.48 PM

Apartments, brewery proposed for site of former Minneapolis lumberyard

The developer is proposing two buildings connected via skyway.

Screen Shot 2022-09-29 at 1.27.38 PM

'Exceptionally rare' meteorite impact crater found in the Twin Cities metro

Had it struck in today's world, much of the Twin Cities would've been wiped out.

Grand Old Day

Organizers seeking ideas for 'reimagining' of Grand Old Day

A task force is set to begin meeting next month to reimagine the event.

fentanyl

Eveleth man gets 11 years for selling woman fentanyl that led to fatal OD

Torisa Sulvoris Wallace, 39, was sentenced to 134 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Virginia Thursday.

Related

President Trump intends to withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Agreement, reports say

Only two countries in the world are not signed up to the agreement, America could be the third.

President Trump confirms the U.S. will quit Paris climate agreement, for now

America will become just the third country not signed up to the agreement.

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

With the federal government taking a step back in the climate fight, states and cities are coming to the fore.

Paris climate agreement: What Minnesota politicians said about Trump's decision

Minnesota Democrats have some strong feelings about the decision to leave the accord.

Where a repeal of the EPA's Clean Power Plan would leave Minnesota

Here's where that would leave Minnesota and its renewable energy goals.

General Mills wants the U.S. to stick with the Paris Agreement

General Mills is among the dozens of companies calling on President-elect Donald Trump to support the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Trump's own tweets listed as one reason the transgender military ban was blocked

Here's why the judge included the president's Twitter behavior as part of her ruling.