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U.S. isolated after Syria signs up to Paris climate pact

09 November 2017

"I would like to affirm the Syrian Arab Republic's commitment to the Paris climate change accord", deputy Environment Minister Wadah Katmawi told a meeting of nearly 200 nations at November 6-17 climate talks in Bonn, Germany.

The Paris agreement aims to combat global warming by gradually reducing emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, which come from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. He claimed the accord places "onerous energy restrictions" and a "draconian financial and economic burden" on the U.S. The announcement faced enormous backlash across clean energy groups and even big names such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Disney CEO Robert Iger, who both resigned from advisory roles under the Trump administration. That leaves the United States as the sole country to reject the agreement, a global effort to combat climate change.

Trump's decision was met with praise from Republican lawmakers and criticism from world leaders. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said that "by 'America first, ' they meant America last".

Nauert said that the department's under secretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, would lead a U.S. delegation to the Bonn talks next week but that Trump's decision would stand. Nicaragua's left-wing government, which originally denounced the plan as too weak, signed up last month.

"Syria's decision shows the breadth of support for the Paris agreement", Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Reuters.

"The United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country", Lindsay Walters, White House spokeswoman, said at the time.

The only other previous holdout, Nicaragua, announced in September that it would join the pact.

Trump said the United States, the second largest producer of greenhouse gases after China, would stay withdrawn unless the agreement could be renegotiated.

Syria is also joining, and announced its move Tuesday at climate talks in Bonn, Germany, Der Spiegel reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron plans a summit to push his "Make our Planet Great Again" agenda on December 12, the anniversary of the 2015 Paris climate accord. "We have witnessed extraordinary weather, including temperatures topping (122 degrees Farenheit) in Asia, record-breaking hurricanes in rapid succession in the Caribbean and Atlantic reaching as far as Ireland, devastating monsoon flooding affecting many millions of people and a relentless drought in East Africa".

The US government on Friday released a report, prepared by hundreds of scientists, on climate change and its primary cause: human activity. El Niño is a powerful natural climate pattern marked by unusually warm water in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which can contribute to higher global temperatures.

U.S. isolated after Syria signs up to Paris climate pact