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And Then There Was One

Donald Trump ran on an "America First" platform for president. The latest news from the climate talks in Bonn, Germany, though, shows that it is now "America Alone" in terms of nations who haven't adopted the Paris climate agreement.
November 13, 2017, 11am PST | Irvin Dawid
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When President Trump announced on June 1 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, signed by former Secretary of State John Kerry on Earth Day last year, there were only two countries that hadn't signed the agreement: Nicaragua and Syria.

Last month, "Nicaragua’s vice president, Rosario Murillo, announced that the country has submitted relevant documents to the United Nations and is now set to join the agreement," reported Rick Noack for The Washington Post on Oct. 24.

“It is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters,” Murillo told a local Nicaraguan radio station. 

On Tuesday (Nov. 7), the hold-out club became even more exclusive when Syria announced at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) meeting  [websitein Bonn, Germany that it would sign, reports Brady Dennis for The Post. Earlier, the Syrian People's Assembly had "approved a draft law on ratifying Syria’s accession to the Paris Climate Agreement," according to the Syrian Arab News Agency.

"Syria’s decision to join the accord brought another round of rebukes for the Trump administration," adds Dennis.

Trump’s decision drew swift, sharp condemnation from foreign leaders, environmental groups and corporate titans, who argued that the U.S. exit from the Paris accord would represent a failure of American leadership in the face of irrefutable scientific evidence.

"As if it wasn’t already crystal clear, every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump’s has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position,” Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.

"Irrefutable scientific evidence" is not how Trump's nominee to lead the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality sees climate change, though, reports Chris Mooney for The Post on Nov. 8.

Kathleen Hartnett White, President Trump’s pick to serve as his top White House environmental official, told the Senate Wednesday that she had doubts about the link between human activity and climate change.

“I’m not a scientist, but in my personal capacity, I have many questions that remain unanswered by current climate policy,” Hartnett White, told senators Wednesday at her confirmation hearing. “I think we indeed need to have more precise explanations of the human role and the natural role.”

Of course, she is not alone in that belief. Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, also disputes that human activity contributes to climate change.

Hat tip to Chris Mooney, editor of Washington Post Energy and Environment newsletter.

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Published on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 in The Washington Post
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