Nicaragua is formally moving to join the Paris climate accord. On October 23, Vice President and current-First Lady Rosario Murillo declared the Nicaraguan government’s intention to enter the international pact. She confirmed on local radio that the necessary documents have been signed and presented to the United Nations, and ratification by Congress is the next step.
In her statement, Murillo affirmed that the Paris accord is not ideal, but ‘‘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.’’
The announcement comes after a tropical storm swept through Central America in early October 2017, leaving at least 15 people dead in Nicaragua and the country’s infrastructure devastated.
Nicaragua previously refused to sign the agreement in November 2015, arguing that the lack of an enforcement mechanism rendered it irrelevant and that the proposed measures were not ambitious enough to curb climate change. The Central American nation also accused richer nations of not assuming a fair share of the costs. Paul Oquist, Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator in the Paris talks, called for historic emissions—largely a result of more developed countries’ industrialization—to be ‘‘better reflected in the calculations,’’ according to the Washington Post.
To date, 168 countries have ratified the agreement that aims to curb any increases in global warming by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases. With Nicaragua’s decision to join the climate pact, only two nations are left out: the United States and Syria. Though the United States initially signed the accord in 2015 during former-President Barack Obama’s administration, President Donald Trump moved to withdraw the world’s largest economy from the agreement in June 2017.