Thu, Nov 09, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Syria to join Paris climate pact

AFP, BONN

Syria on Tuesday told the UN climate talks in Bonn that it would join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only nation in the world opting to stay outside the landmark treaty.

“It is our understanding that the government of Syria announced today their intent to join the Paris agreement,” UN climate body spokesman Nick Nuttall said.

Nuttall identified the delegate as Syrian Minister of Local Administration and Environment Wadah Katmawi.

Syria must submit its “instruments of ratification” at the UN headquarters in New York before their adherence becomes official, he added.

Syria would be the 197th nation to sign on to the climate pact, which vows to hold global warming to “well below” 2°C.

The US mocked Syria’s arrival in the climate change agreement, side-stepping the charge that it has isolated itself by being the world’s sole hold-out.

US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert dismissed suggestions that this means that US President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy has in practice meant “America Alone.”

“I find it ironic that the government of Syria, OK, would say that it wants to be involved and that it cares so much about climate and things like CO2 [carbon dioxide] gas,” she told reporters.

“If the government of Syria cared so much about what was put in the air, then it wouldn’t be gassing its own people,” she said, referring to the Damascus regime’s brutal civil war tactics.

“This means Trump is in splendid isolation — no one wants to be in his company,” said Alden Meyer, a veteran climate analyst at the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

“With Syria on board, now the entire world is resolutely committed to advancing climate action — all save one country,” World Resources Institute director for climate change Paula Caballero said. “This should make the Trump administration pause and reflect on their ill-advised announcement about withdrawing from the Paris agreement.”

“When even Syria — with all its problems — can see the sense of a global climate agreement, it really shows how ideologically wedded to climate denialism the US Republican Party has become,” Christian Aid international climate lead Mohamed Adow said.

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