Syria of­fi­cially signs up to Paris Agree­ment

The Gulf Today - - 9 -

BONN: Syria has of­fi­cially signed up to the Paris Agree­ment, the UN said on Tues­day, leav­ing the United States as the only coun­try to re­ject the global climate-res­cue pact.

“The Syr­ian Arab Re­pub­lic de­posited its in­stru­ment of ac­ces­sion of the Paris Agree­ment on 13 Novem­ber 2017,” said the UN climate sec­re­tar­iat (UNFCCC) host­ing the an­nual round of global climate ne­go­ti­a­tions in Bonn, Germany.

War-torn Syria be­came the 169th of 196 coun­tries that are mem­bers of the UN climate con­ven­tion to take the le­gal step of rat­i­fi­ca­tion.

Af­ter Nicaragua signed up in Oc­to­ber, Syria was the only coun­try not to have adopted the pact. An­other 27 na­tions that have signed the treaty have yet to pass do­mes­tic laws re­quired for full ac­ces­sion.

The United States, which cham­pi­oned the agree­ment un­der Barack Obama, adopted it in the French cap­i­tal in De­cem­ber 2015, signed it at the UN in April 2016, and rat­i­fied in Septem­ber last year.

But in June this year, Obama’s suc­ces­sor, Don­ald Trump, an­nounced that Amer­ica would pull out of the agree­ment, which he said im­posed “dra­co­nian fi­nan­cial and eco­nomic bur­dens” on the United States.

The US can only with­draw four years af­ter the deal of­fi­cially en­tered into force in Novem­ber 2016, which means Novem­ber 2020 − two months be­fore Trump’s term ends.

The hard-fought pact com­mits coun­tries to lim­it­ing av­er­age global warm­ing to un­der two de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit) over In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion lev­els, and 1.5ºc if pos­si­ble, to avert calami­tous climate change-in­duced storms, drought and sea-level rise.

To bol­ster the agree­ment, na­tions sub­mit­ted vol­un­tary com­mit­ments to curb green­house gas emis­sions from burn­ing coal, oil and nat­u­ral gas.

But the 1 C mark has al­ready been passed, and sci­en­tists say that on cur­rent coun­try pledges, the world is headed for a 3ºc warmer fu­ture, or more.

Many fear that Amer­ica’s exit from the agree­ment will make the 2ºc goal that much harder to reach.

On Mon­day, a White House del­e­ga­tion hosted a con­tro­ver­sial event on the side­lines of the UN climate con­fer­ence, pro­mot­ing “cleaner” fos­sil fuel use to the cha­grin of green en­ergy cam­paign­ers and fel­low ne­go­tia­tors.

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