U.S. Is Officially The Only Country Besides Syria Not To Support Paris Climate Deal

Nicaragua signed on after initially refusing because the targets weren't ambitious enough.

Nicaragua has officially joined the Paris climate accord, leaving just two countries to not support the deal ― the United States and Syria.

“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,” Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said Monday. President Daniel Ortega initially announced his intention to sign in September.

When the agreement was reached in 2015, Nicaragua and Syria were the only countries to refuse to sign. Syria wasn’t involved in the negotiations as a result of ongoing conflict in the country, and Nicaragua opposed the agreement’s non-binding nature and contended it didn’t go far enough to fight climate change.

The U.S., under then-President Barack Obama, helped spearhead the agreement. But President Donald Trump, who has referred to climate change as a “hoax,” in June announced his plans to withdraw from the deal. Formally pulling out of the deal could take years, though, and many have speculated that Trump could still reverse course. The White House has pushed back on those claims.

Leaders worldwide have spoken out against Trump’s opposition to the deal. Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that Trump was “standing on the wrong side of history.”

The U.S. is the second-largest greenhouse gas producer worldwide after China. Nicaragua, meanwhile, is already a haven for renewable energy, with its high exposure to sun and wind, according to a 2013 World Bank study. Renewables already account for 58 percent of the country’s energy.