Another Holdout Plans to Join the Paris Agreement - The Years Project

Another Holdout Plans to Join the Paris Agreement

By Maggie Badore

Yesterday, Nicaraguan news sources reported that President Daniel Ortega intends to join the Paris Agreement. Nicaragua originally didn’t sign on to the United Nations deal in 2015, because they felt it was too weak to effectively combat climate change. If the country does join the Agreement, Syria and the United States would be the only countries that don’t plan to adhere to it.

“We will sign the Paris Agreement,” Ortega told official media. “We have already had meetings addressing the issue and we have already programmed the adhesion of Nicaragua and the signing of the Country Agreement.”

But Nicaragua’s participation isn’t a done deal just yet. For Nicaragua to officially join, it must do two things. First, it must submit a document with its “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions,” which lay out a country’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas pollution. Nicaragua would also have to present an instrument of ratification to the U.N. Secretary General.

The announcement comes after a weekend of confusing news reports over the U.S.’s intentions to pull out of or stay in the agreement. Although the White House ultimately reiterated its plan to withdraw, it left the door open to staying in or re-engaging should the conditions of the agreement change. However, the Trump administration hasn’t indicated what those conditions might be.

Symbolically, Nicaragua’s move does matter as the U.S. plans to withdraw. While Nicaragua contributes a comparatively small amount to global emissions, the country is on track to generate 90 percent of its power from renewables by 2020. Compare that to the U.S. where renewables only constitute 13 percent.

The only other country not participating in Paris is Syria, due to its seven-year civil war, said Andrew Light, of World Resources Institute. “If Nicaragua comes in, the U.S. would be the only country taking a principled stance against the agreement.”

UPDATE Oct. 24, 2017: Nicaragua has now officially joined the Paris Agreement. Read More.