The Atlantic reports: It’s official. When it comes to climate change, there’s now literally everyone else—and then there’s the United States.
Syria, the last remaining holdout from the Paris Agreement on climate change, announced at a United Nations meeting in Germany on Tuesday that it will sign the agreement. The Syrian Arab News Agency, a state-sponsored news outlet, also reported that the country’s legislature voted to ascend to the agreement last month.
Its declaration means that the United States is the only country in the world that has rejected the treaty and promised to withdraw from it.
If the news isn’t exactly pleasant for the Trump administration, which announced the intent to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement in June, it’s also something of a poor advertisement for the treaty itself. That Syria—war-torn, war-crime-committing Syria—has acceded to the Paris accord does not make an obvious case for the United States doing the same.
At the same time, Syria is committing to Paris now because every other country has already signed on. In Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea, the Paris Agreement is considered a relatively uncontroversial international achievement.
“With Syria on board, now the entire world is resolutely committed to advancing climate action—all save one country,” said Paula Caballero, a climate-policy specialist at the World Resources Institute. “This should make the Trump administration pause and reflect on their ill-advised announcement about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement.”
“Syria’s participation puts an exclamation point on the fact that the U.S. actions are contrary to the political actions, and the sincerely held beliefs, of every other country on the face of the Earth,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences at Princeton University and a longtime observer of UN climate negotiations. [Continue reading…]