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The U.S. Is Now the Only Nation on Earth That’s Not Part of the Paris Agreement

Shutterstock image of the United States surrounded by barbed wire, representing isolationism and border control

Back when Donald Trump announced that he would pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement (also known as the Paris climate accord, or Paris climate agreement), there were only two other holdouts: Syria, a country in such disarray it couldn’t possibly commit; and Nicaragua, which had resisted the Agreement for not going far enough, and for ignoring the fact that wealthier countries bore more “historical responsibility” for carbon emissions.

Now, with Nicaragua announcing that it would sign back in October, and Syria announcing its commitment today, the United States is officially the only country in the world that has rejected the Paris climate accord. Even North Korea is a signatory. 

The Paris Agreement was one of President Obama’s signature diplomatic achievements, bringing nearly 200 nations together to battle the global threat of pollution and climate change. Even big polluters like China and the U.S., which had been reluctant to sign such deals before, were willing and enthusiastic signatories. “Climate change is a global challenge,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, back in June. “No county can place itself outside of this … We will continue to resolutely be a protector and promoter of the global climate system process.”

The goal of the Paris Agreement is to prevent the most devastating effects of climate change by limiting the global rise in temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. This will only be possible if the world as a whole emits zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – an ambitious but essential mission. The United States, as the world’s second-biggest polluter, should be a crucial part of that mission, but Trump pulled us out of the agreement in a fit of deluded spite.

In the most surreal moment of his error-riddled speech on the Paris Agreement withdrawal, he even had the audacity to claim: “We are on the right side of history.”

Trump is a national embarrassment in everything he does, from his misogyny to his racism to his ignorance, but the shame of his presidency is particularly stark today. On the most important issue facing our species, on an Accord that every other nation in the world signed, America stands alone. Isolated from every other country by the ignorance of Donald Trump, we are very much on the wrong side of history.

(Via Newsweek; image via Shutterstock)

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