US Becomes Only Nation Not Part Of Paris Agreement

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The U.S. has become the only nation in the world to not participate in the Paris Climate Accord, an international agreement to voluntarily lower carbon emissions in an effort to curb rising global temperatures.

On Nov. 7, Syria announced during the COP 23 United Nations climate summit in Germany that it would sign onto the Paris agreement, joining nearly 200 countries committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the Independent reports.

The Paris Climate Accord was finalized in December 2015, when it was signed by 195 nations. The effort was spearheaded by the Obama administration to codify an international commitment to ward off the impact of climate change. Participating nations could set their own target emissions.

Nicaragua and Syria were the only developed nations in the world that declined to originally sign onto the agreement. The Nicaraguan government snubbed the accord because it believed the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 was not ambitious enough.

On June 1, U.S. President Donald Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden that he would withdraw the country from the Paris climate accord, asserting that it would hobble jobs and economic growth, according to The New York Times.

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"I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris ... At what point does America get demeaned?" Trump said. "At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won't be."

Trump's decision was met with praise from Republican lawmakers and criticism from world leaders. Tesla CEO Elon Musk resigned from Trump's business council in protest.

On June 2, former Secretary of State John Kerry of the Obama administration called the U.S. withdraw from the Paris agreement "one of the most cynical and frankly ignorant and dangerous, self-destructive steps that I've seen in my entire lifetime in public life."

"I would ask Donald Trump, does he think that [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping], [France's] President [Emmanuel] Macron -- that the Prime Minister of Great Britain [Theresa May], the Chancellor of Germany [Angela Merkel] -- don't know what they're talking about?" Kerry told CNN. "Are they stupid. Is he accusing them of somehow buying into a hoax?"

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The Trump administration will not be able to formally extricate the U.S. from the climate agreement until 2020.

On Oct. 23, Nicaragua announced it would join the Paris accord, despite its previous reservations.

"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, according to Reuters.

On the same day that Syria announced its inclusion in the climate agreement, French authorities disclosed that Trump would not be invited to the global summit "Make Our Planet Great Again."

The summit, spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, will host more than 100 world leaders in France on Dec. 12, according to The Associated Press.

On Nov. 3, the Trump administration released its National Climate Assessment, a federal report that has been mandatory since 1990. The assessment, compiled from the research of several federal agencies, concluded that climate change was real and that human activity was almost intensifying its impact, The Washington Post reports.

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century," the assessment stated. "For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of observational evidence."

Sources: AP via ABC News, CNN, Independent, The New York TimesReuters via The Guardian, The Washington Post / Feature Image: Michael Vadon/Flickr / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/Flickr (2)

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