Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

US Sign

A sign designates the desk of the delegation from the United States at the opening of the COP 23 United Nations Climate Change Conference on November 6, 2017 in Bonn, Germany. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

'America Last': US vs. Entire World After Syria Agrees to Join Paris Accord

"Every single other country in the world is moving forward together to tackle the climate crisis, while Donald Trump has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position."

Jessica Corbett

At the COP23 United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany on Tuesday, war-torn Syria announced that it would sign on to the Paris agreement, leaving the United States—after President Donald withdrew his support earlier this year—as the only nation on planet Earth to oppose the international accord opponent.

"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 has isolated the United States on the world stage in an embarrassing and dangerous position," said Sierra Club president Michael Brune, following the announcement. "Trump's desperate moves to help corporate polluters by refusing to acknowledge the reality of the climate crisis shows that he neither cares about leadership nor does he understand it."

The delegate who made the announcement for the Middle Eastern country, which is still consumed by a six-year civil war, did not offer an explanation for the policy shift, according to the New York Times. Various environmental groups and activists celebrated the news, but also emphasized the importance of maintaining pressure on Trump and his administration, with the World Resource Institute (WRI) labeling the U.S. a #climateloner on Twitter.

In late 2015, nearly 200 nations—including the United States, under former President Barack Obama—agreed to the carbon-cutting Paris accord. In June 2017, Trump revealed he planned to withdraw from it (although the U.S. cannot formally ditch the deal until 2020). Just last month, Nicaragua announced it would sign on to the agreement, leaving only Syria and the United States opposed. Syria's announcement on Tuesday means the U.S.—currently the second-biggest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions—is the only holdout.

"Syria's announcement that it will join the Paris agreement leaves President Trump in not-so-splendid isolation as a result of his irresponsible and ignorant decision to withdraw the United States from the most comprehensive effort ever to confront the mounting climate crisis," said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and an expert on the UN's international climate negotiations process. Meyer is currently at COP23.

"With Syria's decision, the relentless commitment of the global community to deliver on Paris is more evident than ever," Paula Caballero, WRI's director of the climate change program, told the Times. "The U.S.'s stark isolation should give Trump reason to reconsider his ill-advised announcement and join the rest of the world in tackling climate change."

"It's almost impossible to pick the most embarrassing action by President Trump since he took office: There are simply too many choose from," said Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook. "But his decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate pact is certainly near the top. A year ago, the country was leading the effort to combat climate change, but now with Trump in charge, we're the only nation on the planet fleeing from the fight."

Environmental activists, climate experts, journalists, politicians, and others quickly weighed in on Twitter.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Nuke the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo