Nicaragua, which previously rejected the Paris climate deal as insufficient to stop climate change, announced on Monday that it has signed the agreement, leaving the United States and Syria as the only two holdouts.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, signed the agreement on Friday, according to a copy of the signed letter. Murillo said on Monday that the letter had been delivered to the United Nations.
“We join the efforts to reduce the high levels of pollution that poison the planet,” the letter said. “The Paris Accord, despite not being the ideal agreement, is the only instrument that currently allows the unity of intentions and efforts.”
Nicaragua’s share of global emissions is estimated to be 0.03 percent, compared to 21.97 percent for China and 13.19 percent for the United States. Nicaragua, however, ranks as one of the countries most affected by climate change.
Nicaragua’s decision to join the global accord leaves the United States and Syria as the only two countries which do not support the agreement. The only exception is the Vatican, which wants to sign the deal but can’t unless it joins the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The U.S. signed the agreement in April 2016 under the administration of Barack Obama, but President Donald Trump announced in June that the U.S. will withdraw, calling the deal “very unfair” to the United States. He also said the U.S. would no longer contribute to the Green Climate Fund.
Earlier this month, after Caribbean countries were hit by two powerful hurricanes, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the international community to implement the Paris climate deal with “greater ambition.”
“We know that the world has the tools, the technologies and the wealth to address climate change, but we must show more determination in moving towards a green, clean, sustainable energy future,” Guterres said, adding that he plans to convene a Climate Summit in 2019.
The Paris Agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius, which experts say would already have a significant effect across the world. But experts say the measures in the Paris Agreement are insufficient and countries who fail to fulfill their commitments are not penalized.
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