Syria plans to join Paris climate accord, leaving U.S. as only country opposed
Though torn by civil war, Syria says it wants to curb greenhouse gas emissions
Syria plans to join the 2015 Paris agreement for slowing global warming, isolating the United States as the only country opposed to the pact, delegates said on Tuesday at U.N. climate negotiations in Germany.
Syria and Nicaragua were the only two nations outside the 195-nation pact when it was agreed in 2015, under former U.S. president Barack Obama. Nicaragua, which originally denounced the plan as too weak, signed up last month.
Syria's delegation told a meeting of almost 200 nations on climate change in Bonn that their country, torn by civil war, would sign up for the agreement to curb rising temperatures by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, delegates said.
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The move will isolate Washington.
U.S. 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 U.S. coal and oil industries.
"We need everybody on board," Ronald Jumeau, of the Seychelles, told Reuters. "We want the United States in too. We take no pleasure in the United States being out."
Syria's decision shows the breadth of support for the Paris agreement.- Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists
Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat which is organising the meeting, said that Syria had not yet formally submitted any documents about its plan.
"Syria's decision shows the breadth of support for the Paris agreement," Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Reuters of the moves by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meyer said businesses, mayors, cities and other groups were also stepping up actions to limit a rise in temperatures that scientists say are stoking more downpours, heat waves and rising sea levels.
David Waskow, of the World Resources Institute think-tank, noted that Trump's climate views had previously isolated him in the Group of Seven and the Group of 20.
"Now he'll be isolated from all nations," he said.
The Paris agreement seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to "well below" 2 C above pre-industrial times, ideally 1.5 C.
The U.N.'s weather agency said on Monday that this year is on track to be the second or third warmest since records began in the 19th century, behind a record-breaking 2016.
The Bonn meeting, from Nov. 6–17, is seeking to write a detailed "rule book" for the Paris agreement, including details of how to report and check all nations' greenhouse gas emissions.