U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s threat of pulling the United States out of a global agreement to curb climate change could place the United States in a tiny club with just one other nation – Nicaragua.
If he acts on the threat, the two countries will be alone in formally opposing the Paris Agreement adopted by almost 200 other states – but for very different reasons.
Nicaragua was the only nation to reject the agreement last December. It has been arguing, at a meeting of almost 200 nations in Marrakesh, for far more drastic action to limit rising temperatures.
By contrast, Trump has called the very concept of man-made global warming a hoax and has said he will withdraw from the agreement, instead wanting to bolster the U.S. coal, oil and shale industries.
“Paris was not successful. It was a failure,” Nicaragua’s chief delegate Paul Oquist told Reuters in Marrakesh. “The world needs urgent action now.”
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who won re-election this month, has often been at odds with the United States. He was in power in the 1980s when former U.S. president Ronald Reagan funded right-wing rebels in a failed bid to topple his government.
U.S. climate envoy Jonathan Pershing, asked about the possibility that the United States would be in a group with Nicaragua, said it was too early to speculate about Trump’s policies.
“We do not believe that the United States would have it in its interests not to be a party to this (agreement),” he said. “We believe it’s deeply in our interest.”
Oquist said the Paris Agreement, built from government promises for national actions, was far too weak to achieve its core goal of limiting a rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
He said rich countries should take on legally binding cuts in emissions to limit warming that could undermine farming such as coffee in Nicaragua, spread floods and droughts and raise sea levels. He said Nicaragua was doing its own fair share by shifting to renewable energies.
Dozens of nations have reiterated support for the Paris Agreement since Trump’s victory, but there are worries that it might drain support for the Paris Agreement.